January 3 Happy Birthday T. Michael Coleman

Happy Birthday T. Michael Coleman born, January 3, 1951 is an American bass player of bluegrass and folk music. Coleman grew up in Leaksville, North Carolina, where he was a part of bluegrass and folk groups. After working as a sound technician each time Doc Watson came to nearby Appalachian State University, Coleman played bass with Doc Watson and his son Merle starting in 1974 and continuing until 1986. Coleman also toured with Doc Watson and David Holt during the final three years of Doc’s life.
After his time with Watson, Coleman joined the Seldom Scene, replacing Tom Gray. Coleman was with The Seldom Scene from 1986 until 1995. There were initial objections to Coleman’s use of an electric bass in the normally acoustic bluegrass lineup, but Coleman’s playing fit the group’s sound. The albums produced by the band after Coleman’s arrival maintained the traditional appeal of any of the Scene’s earlier albums.
After leaving the Seldom Scene, Coleman joined Chesapeake with Moondi Klein, Mike Auldridge, and Jimmy Gaudreau. They released three albums on the Sugar Hill label. With no banjo, they were more acoustic country than bluegrass. Chesapeake disbanded in 1999 when their contract with Sugar Hill ended..In 2013, Colerman recorded the album Ready for the Times with Bryan Sutton and David Holt. They recorded the album as a tribute to Doc Watson. The trio got together in 2011, and have performed frequently under the name Deep River Rising.
Released in 2016, Pocket was Coleman’s first album. Contributors included Alan Bibey, Sam Bush, Kelen Coleman, Jerry Douglas, Buddy Greene, Lamar Hill, David Holt, Rob Ickes, Jens Kruger, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little, Pat McInerney, Stephen Mougin, Herb Pedersen, Allen Shadd, Bryan Sutton, Doc Watson, and Tony Williamson.
Projects that Coleman was involved with were nominated five times for a Grammy Award: once in 1982, twice in 1998, once in 1982, and once in 1994.
Coleman is an award-winning videographer and film maker, known for his work on Children of Armageddon (2008), Broke: The New American Dream (2009), and Inside the Afghanistan War (2012). Coleman’s daughter is actress Kelen Coleman.
Yet, he remains best known for work with Doc Watson and the Seldom Scene.

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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