August 10, 2009

By now you've heard that Mike Seeger died. A really sad death, a true loss of an original, nobody else was like him or will be. He was a superb and enviable musician on any instrument he chose to play, and he singlehandedly did about as much as anyone to preserve traditional music in its pure, true form. Recorded and aided all sorts of old timers, rescued music from obscurity, inspired untold numbers of people who themselves have become great and/or obsessed. Only a genius musician could have so exactly learned all the styles he could play and also explain what was going on in them. Check out his banjo and guitar styles albums . I'd be stoked to play any ONE of these styles well.

He was also a truly nice guy. I spoke with him several times and often at some length and he was always very friendly and gracious. And, no less, he always unexpectedly remembered me the next time for no reason at all except that he was a genuinely good person. This was more than professionalism, since I had nothing to offer him (though I did send him honey), he just a regular guy in addition to being a giant among us.

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