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Encyclopedia > Vassar Clements
Cover of Old and in the Way (1975)
Cover of Old and in the Way (1975)

Vassar Clements (April 25, 1928-August 16, 2005) was an American fiddle player. Image File history File links Old and in the Way, bluegrass album (1975) This image is of a music album or single cover, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher of the album or the artist(s) which produced the music in question. ... April 25 is the 115th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (116th in leap years). ... 1928 was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 2005 is a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and is the current year. ... The violin is a stringed musical instrument that has four strings tuned a fifth apart. ...


Clements taught himself to play the fiddle at age 7, and though he had no formal training was recognized as one of the world's most versatile fiddle players and was considered a virtuoso. The first song he learned was "There's an Old Spinning Wheel in the Parlor". He described his talent saying, "It was God's gift, something born in me. I was too dumb to learn it any other way. I listened to the [Grand Ole] Opry some. I'd pick it up one note at a time. I was young, with plenty of time and I didn't give up. You'd come home from school, do your lessons and that's it. No other distractions. I don't read music. I play what I hear." The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly Saturday night country music radio program broadcast live on WSM Radio in Nashville, Tennessee. ...


He didn't always earn his living playing music, though. In the mid-1960's he was employed briefly at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where he worked on plumbing. He also performed several other blue-collar jobs including work in a Georgia paper mill, as switchman for Atlantic Coast Line Railroad; he even sold insurance and once operated a convenience store while owning a potato chip franchise in Huntsville, Alabama. Merritt Island and Kennedy Space Center The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the NASA space vehicle launch facility (spaceport) at Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island in Florida, United States. ... State nickname: Sunshine State Other U.S. States Capital Tallahassee Largest city Jacksonville Governor Jeb Bush (R) Official languages English Area 170,451 km² (22nd)  - Land 137,374 km²  - Water 30,486 km² (17. ... What is a paper mill? An online paper mill is a website where students can download essays, either free or for a service charge. ... The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (AAR reporting mark ACL) was an American railroad that existed between 1880s and 1967, when it merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, its longtime rival, to form the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad. ... Chips is also a name for French fries in Great Britain and Ireland. ... Franchising (from the French for free) is a method of doing business wherein a franchisor licenses trademarks and methods of doing business to a franchisee in exchange for a recurring royalty fee. ... Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County, Alabama. ... State nickname: Camellia State, The Heart of Dixie¹, Yellowhammer State Other U.S. States Capital Montgomery Largest city Birmingham Governor Bob Riley (R) Official languages English Area 84,360 mi²/135,765 km² (30th)  - Land 81,664 mi²/131,426 km²  - Water 2,696 mi²/4,338 km² (3. ...


In his 50 year career he played with artists ranging from Woody Herman, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band to The Grateful Dead, Linda Ronstadt and Paul McCartney, and earned at least five Grammy nominations and numerous professional accolades. He once recorded with the pop group the Monkees by happenstance, when he stayed behind after an earlier recording session. He also appeared in Robert Altman's 1975 film "Nashville". Woodrow Charles Herman (May 16, 1913–October 29, 1987), better known as Woody Herman, was a United States jazz clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist, singer, and Big band leader. ... The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is an American country-folk-rock band that has existed in various forms since 1966. ... Jerry Garcia later in life The Grateful Dead was an American rock band, which was formed in 1965 in San Francisco from the remnants of another band, Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions. ... Linda Ronstadt on the cover of her 2002 collection The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt Linda Maria Ronstadt (born July 15, 1946) is an American singer. ... Paul McCartney, as photographed by John Kelley for the 1968 LP The Beatles (aka The White Album). Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born 18 June 1942) is a British singer, musician and songwriter, who first came to prominence as a member of The Beatles. ... Grammy Award statuette The Grammy Awards, presented by the Recording Academy (an association of Americans professionally involved in the recorded music industry) for outstanding achievements in the recording industry, is one of four major music awards shows held annually in the United States (the Billboard Music Awards, the American Music... The Monkees in 1967 (left to right): Michael Nesmith, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork The Monkees were a four-man band who appeared in an American television series of the same name, which ran on NBC from 1966 to 1968. ... Robert Altman Robert Bernard Altman (born February 20, 1925) is an American film director known for making films that are highly naturalistic, but with a somewhat skewed perspective. ...


His 2005 Grammy award for best country instrumental performance was for "Earl's Breakdown," by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and featured Mr. Clements, Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs and Jerry Douglas. Earl Scruggs Earl Scruggs (born Earl Eugene Scruggs January 6, 1924 in Flint Hill, North Carolina) created a banjo style (now called Scruggs style) that is one of the defining characteristics of bluegrass. ... Jerry Douglas (born 19??) has been described as the Jimi Hendrix and the Charlie Parker of acoustic music. ...


Born in Kinard, South Carolina, his musical career began at age 14 when he associated with Bill Monroe, and later officially joined the Blue Grass Boys band where he remained for seven years. In 1957 he joined bluegrass band Jim and Jesse McReynolds where he remained until 1962. In 1967 he returned to Nashville where he became a much sought after studio musician. State nickname: Palmetto State Other U.S. States Capital Columbia Largest city Columbia Governor Mark Sanford (R) Official languages English Area 82,965 km² (40th)  - Land 78,051 km²  - Water 4,915 km² (6%) Population (2000)  - Population {{{2000Pop}}} (26th)  - Density 51. ... Bill Monroe Bill Monroe (September 13, 1911 - September 9, 1996) developed the style of country music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the Blue Grass Boys, named for his home state of Kentucky. ... Jesse McReynolds, along with his late brother, Jim McReynolds, formed the bluegrass pioneering band Jim and Jesse in or around 1947. ... For other cities named Nashville, see Nashville (disambiguation). ...


After a brief touring stint with Faron Young he joined John Hartford's Dobrolic Plectral Society in 1971 when he met guitarist Norman Blake and Dobro player Tut Taylor, and recorded Aereo Plain, a widely acclaimed "newgrass" album that helped broaden the bluegrass market and sound. After less than a year he joined Earl Scruggs, who first earned widespread renown for playing the theme to sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. Faron Young (born February 25, 1932 near Shreveport, Louisiana, died December 10, 1996) was an American country music singer. ... John Hartford shortly before his death in 2001 John Cowan Hartford (December 30, 1937– June 4, 2001) was an American bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics and unique vocal style. ... Norman Blake is a singer-songwriter in the Glasgow band Teenage Fanclub. ... The Beverly Hillbillies is a TV sitcom about a hillbilly who strikes oil while hunting on his land, near the fictional Bugtussle, and moves his family to Beverly Hills, California, with the resultant wealth. ...


His 1972 work with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their album Will the Circle Be Unbroken earned him even wider acclaim, and later worked with the Grateful Dead's Wake of the Flood and Jimmy Buffett's A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. In License to Chill, Buffett paired with several famous country music stars on the albums songs. ...


In 1975, he joined Jerry Garcia, David Grisman Peter Rowan and John Kahn in releasing the bluegrass album, Old and in the Way. Jerry Garcia in his youth Jerome John Garcia (August 1, 1942 – August 9, 1995) was famous as guitarist and primary singer of the psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead, though his extensive career involved many other projects. ... David Grisman David Grisman (born 1945 in Hackensack, New Jersey) is a noted bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and composer of acoustic music. ... Peter Rowan Peter Rowan (b. ... John Kahn (1949-1996) was an American rock bass player. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ...


Though he played numerous instruments, Mr. Clements indicated that he chose the fiddle over guitar recalling that, "I picked up a guitar and fiddle and tried them both out. The guitar was pretty easy, but I couldn't get nothing out of the fiddle. So every time I'd see those instruments sitting side by side, I'd grab that fiddle."


Big band and swing music were considerable influences upon his style and musical development, and he said that, “Bands like Glenn Miller, Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Artie Shaw were very popular when I was a kid. I always loved rhythm, so I guess in the back of my mind the swing and jazz subconsciously comes out when I play, because when I was learning I was always trying to emulate the big-band sounds I heard on my fiddle.” A big band, also known as a jazz orchestra, is a large musical ensemble that plays jazz music, especially swing. ... Musically, swing can be either: (written with small s), refers to swung notes, the rhythmic feeling evoked by swinging music, esp. ... Alton Glenn Miller (March 1, 1904 – December 15, 1944) was an American jazz musician and band leader in the Swing era. ... Les Brown Sr. ... Tommy Dorsey (November 19, 1905–November 26, 1956) was a jazz trombonist in the Big Band era. ... Harry Haag James (March 15, 1916 - July 5, 1983) was a popular United States musician and band leader, and a well known trumpet virtuoso. ... Arthur Jacob Arshawsky (May 23, 1910 – December 30, 2004), better known as Artie Shaw, was an accomplished jazz clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and writer. ...


Vassar Clements played on over 2000 albums. His last album, "Livin' With the Blues", released in 2004, featured guest appearances by Elvin Bishop, Norton Buffalo, Maria Muldaur and others. Elvin Bishop (born October 21, 1942) is an American blues and rock and roll musician and guitar player. ... Maria Muldaur (Born September 12, 1943 in New York) is a roots-folk singer best known for her song Midnight at the Oasis. ...


Mr. Clements, whose last performance was February 4, 2005 in Jamestown, N.Y., died of lung cancer on August 16, 2005 at age 77. Jamestown is a city located in Chautauqua County, New York in the USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 31,730. ... State nickname: Empire State Other U.S. States Capital Albany Largest city New York Governor George Pataki Official languages None Area 141,205 km² (27th)  - Land 122,409 km²  - Water 18,795 km² (13. ...


References:

  • (Blue)grass effort, Southgate Mall event this weekend
  • Noted fiddler played often in the Shoals
  • Legendary Fiddler Vassar Clements Dies at 77

  Results from FactBites:
 
Vassar Clements - Biography (907 words)
Vassar Clements, who died of lung cancer on August 16, 2005 at the age of 77, is considered one of the world's finest and most versatile fiddle players.
Understandably, the form of jazz music created by virtuoso Vassar Clements is an amalgam of the diverse influences that have touched him throughout his career, but particularly his affinity for the jazz and swing music of his youth.
Vassar's jazz is an uninhibited and unabashed expression of his approach to music, people and life in general.
Vassar Clements, 1928-2005 (633 words)
Vassar Clements, the beloved fiddler who refined and redefined the sound of fiddling for the whole world, died early August 16 of lung and liver cancer at the age of 76.
Vassar was one of the last of the completely self-taught American Roots musicians, in the sense that he worked out a method for playing his instrument in isolation from any "legit" method, by listening to the radio and watching other fiddlers, scarce in central Florida where he grew up in the thirties.
Vassar was an important musical and personal link between generations and cultures, as well as musicians and musical styles.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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