For those who were unable to be present at the IBMA Special Awards Luncheon yesterday when the Distinguished Achievement Award was presented to Mike Auldridge, here is the text of Rob's speech presenting the award. There were two large screens on either side of the stage showing the photographs described in parentheticals, and the music that was played is also described in parentheticals.
There was a huge standing ovation by a very full house, and it was a very moving event for all of us privileged to be present. I've posted about the dobro party on Jerry's board, but since I'm still at IBMA and computer time is scarce, I won't re-post that here.
DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT PRESENTATION Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Mike Auldridge
(presented by Rob Ickes)
(photos to show onscreen during presentation, in synch with script)
(Intro music: Pickaway, fade as Rob is ready to speak)
(photo: Mike leaning on tree)
(photo: Mike with Josh Graves)
Mike Auldridge has described his life's course as follows: "Josh Graves basically defined what I was going to do with my life when I was 14 years old. That first encounter sealed my fate."
(photo: Mike with first Dobro & brother Dave)
Today, we pay tribute to the lifetime achievements that 14-year-old went on to attain, and to a man who has himself inspired and sealed the fate of so many others, myself included.
(photo: album cover: Mike Auldridge Dobro)
Listen to these opening notes of "Tennessee Stud" from Mike's first solo album, Dobro, released in 1972:
(Music: " Tennessee Stud" 00:00 to 00:25 )
From those first few bars, it was clear: Mike Auldridge had set a new standard for tone on the Dobro. To this day, that tone is the holy grail of contemporary resophonic guitar players.
(photo: Emerson & Waldron, 1969)
This seminal album, along with his performances and other recordings in the '60s and '70s, provided early evidence of the significant innovations that would form his rich legacy not only to the world of the Dobro, but also to bluegrass music and to music in general.
(photo: side view of Mike with sideburns playing Dobro)
He stretched the boundaries of the instrument in terms of technique, musical vision and elegant taste firmly rooted in a "less is more" ethic.
(photo: Mike Auldridge with band in Columbia , Md. 1974)
He stretched the reach of the instrument by performing with such varied musicians as Linda Ronstadt, Lowell George, Emmylou Harris, Vassar Clements and Tony Rice.
(photo: Tony Rice & Mike)
He embraced nontraditional instrumentation such as drums along with nontraditional repertoire. As Jerry Douglas has observed, "His gift to us has been the grace and effortless adaptation to all forms of music, always keeping his bluegrass roots showing."
(additional photos of bandsÃ¢â‚¬â€Waldron, Seldom Scene, Chesapeake , Auldridge/Bennett & Gaudreau, John Starling & Carolina Star, Good Deale Bluegrass Band)
His musical collaborations have included such notable bands as Emerson & Waldron; Cliff Waldron and New Shades of Grass; The Seldom Scene, of which Mike was a founding member; Chesapeake; Auldridge, Bennett & Gaudreau; and his current bands, John Starling & Carolina Star and the Good Deale Bluegrass Band.
(photo: Mike with Jim Heffernan & Hal Rugg)
In addition to his legacy on the 6-string Dobro, his passions have also led him to create a strong body of work on the 8-string resophonic guitar and pedal steel, including collaborations with Jeff Newman, Hal Rugg & Jim Heffernan. This clip from "Little Rock Getaway" is from his highly influential 1988 album, Eight-String Swing.
(Music: Little Rock Getaway, 00:00 to 00:20 )
(photo: current close-up of Mike holding Beard reso guitar)
It is also worth noting that his love of the instrument gave rise to a collaboration with Paul Beard to produce a signature resophonic guitar, in both 6- and 8-string versions, that incorporates Mike's aesthetic and sonic values.
(photo: back to first photo of Mike, leaning against tree)
Today Mike carries within him, in full force, the passion he developed for the Dobro in his early years. His active schedule guarantees many additions to a substantial body of work in times to come. But it is fitting to pause today, with the international bluegrass community gathered together, to recognize the distinguished achievements of one of the foremost musical masters of our times: Mike Auldridge.
(Music: Wait a Minute from 00:00 ; fade as Mike is ready to speak)
Does anyone know which luthiers will be going to IBMA?