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January 1, 2013

Mike Auldridge, Founding Member of Seldom Scene Bluegrass Group, Dies at 73

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"You know, like bluegrass has that really hard sound," she added, "but somehow they softened it but it still had all that power because it was just so unique."

Auldridge recorded several solo albums. "Blues and Bluegrass" (1974) featured guest appearances by Ronstadt and guitarist Lowell George of Little Feat, and included Auldridge's instrumental interpretation of "Killing Me Softly," a song popularized by Roberta Flack.

Auldridge's "Eight String Swing" (1981) featured such swing standards as "Stompin' at the Savoy" and "Caravan" performed with bluegrass instrumentation.

Michael Dennis Auldridge was born Dec. 30, 1938, in Washington and grew up in Kensington, Md. He was a 1967 graduate of Wheaton High School in Maryland and attended art classes at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, while in his teens. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.

Although his father was a banker, Auldridge could claim a family connection to the music profession. His uncle, Ellsworth Cozzens, a steel guitarist who performed and recorded in the 1920s with country singer Jimmie Rodgers, inspired Auldridge's interest in music. Auldridge started out on guitar and later banjo before taking up the resophonic guitar.

As teenagers, Auldridge and his older brother Dave, now deceased, a guitarist and mandolinist, formed a bluegrass group, the South Mountain Boys, and performed on the Washington area radio station WDON in the mid-1950s. Michael Auldridge first recorded in 1969 with the group Emerson and Waldron and the New Shades of Grass.

In the mid-1990s, when the Seldom Scene's leader Duffey decided to limit the group's touring, Auldridge formed another group, Chesapeake, with bassist T. Michael Coleman and guitarist Moondi Klein — then current members of the Seldom Scene — and mandolist Jimmy Gaudreau. Auldridge left the Seldom Scene in 1996, although he sometimes performed in reunion shows.

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