Remembering Mike Seeger (August 15, 1933 – August 7, 2009) devoted his life to singing and playing what he often called “Music from True Vine” – the home music made by American southerners before the media age. Fidelity to traditional sounds set Mike apart from other performers. As he sang the old songs, he played in a wide variety of traditional styles, accompanying himself on an array of instruments.
Mike Seeger received six Grammy nominations: two with the New Lost City Ramblers, one with John Hartford and David Grisman, and three on his own. In 1995 Mike received the Rex Foundation’s Ralph J. Gleason Lifetime Achievement Award, established by the Grateful Dead, honoring him as “one of our great musical and cultural resources.” In 2009 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Mike the nation’s highest honor in the field of traditional arts, a National Heritage Fellowship.
Mike continued to tour, teach, and record until the summer of 2009, when he was diagnosed with a fast-growing bone marrow cancer that resisted treatment. He died in peace on August 7 at his home in Rockbridge County, Virginia.