Remembering Mike Auldridge (December 30, 1938 – December 29, 2012) was widely acknowledged as a premier Dobro player. He played with The Seldom Scene (of which he was a founding member) for many years, creating a fusion of bluegrass with jazz, folk and rock. Auldridge worked with Paul Beard (Beard Guitars) to produce the Beard Mike Auldridge Models of square-neck resophonic guitars (dobro), including an 8-string version.
The New York Times described Auldridge as “one of the most distinctive dobro players in the history of country and bluegrass music while widening its popularity among urban audiences”. He also worked as a graphic artist.
Auldridge was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in the suburban town of Kensington, Maryland. Auldridge started playing guitar at the age of 13. His main influence through his early years was Josh Graves who also sold him his first dobro. A 1967 graduate of The University of Maryland, Auldridge worked as a graphic artist for a commercial art firm in Bethesda, Maryland and Washington Star-News. He started playing music full-time when the Washington Star-News folded in 1981. Auldridge last played with Darren Beachley and The Legends of the Potomac bluegrass band. Past bands include The Country Gentlemen, Emerson and Waldron, Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass, Seldom Scene, Chesapeake, The Good Deale Bluegrass Band, and John Starling and Carolina Star (which featured three original members of The Seldom Scene). Mike was also a member of the touring bands of Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris.
Auldridge was nominated for four Grammy awards, including twice for Best Bluegrass Album with The Seldom Scene, in 1992 and 1994. He won numerous awards including Frets Magazine’s “Dobro Player of the Year” and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. He is a recipient of the 2012 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the United States.
Auldridge died on December 29, 2012, just one day prior to his 74th birthday, at home under hospice care in Silver Spring, Maryland after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.