Mike Auldridge, a Dobro master and founding member of the bluegrass group Seldom Scene , died from cancer Saturday (Dec. 29) at a hospice near his home in Silver Springs, Md. His death came one day short of his 74th birthday.
Starting as a guitar player, Auldridge switched to the resophonic guitar — or Dobro — when he was 17. In 1971, he joined banjoist Ben Eldridge, guitarist and vocalist John Starling and bassist Tom Gray to form the Seldom Scene, a band that stretched the boundaries of bluegrass music into the folk, rock and jazz idioms. He remained with the Seldom Scene until the mid-1990s and subsequently formed the group Chesapeake.
Influenced by Josh Graves, the Dobroist for Flatt & Scruggs & the Foggy Mountain Boys, Auldridge in turn became a music role model for the inventive and award-winning Dobroists Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes. His work earned him a National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship earlier this year.
Shortly before his death, Auldridge completed an album with Douglas and Ickes that is scheduled for release in 2013.