A genuine Nashville (and national) treasure died today. If you don’t recognize the name, you’ve still probably heard his fiddle. For example, on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” (Or with Paul McCartney, Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, the Grateful Dead, Bruce Hornsby, Hank Williams Jr., the Byrds, Woody Herman, even the Monkees.)
That both of my children had the chance to jam with Vassar Clements on several ocassions is one of those gifts living in Nashville provides. With young fiddlers, Vassar was always eager to do what he could to insure the circle be unbroken.
His music will live on, not only through the vast number (over 2,000) of recordings he performed on throughout his life, but also through the play of hundreds of fiddlers he inspired and influenced.