Day: September 18, 2008

NEA Heritage Fellows Bring Back Memories

On Friday, September 19th, the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowships free concert will be held at Bethesda’s Strathmore Music Hall.  Each year the NEA awards one-time-only awards to traditional and folk artists, and I have special memories of the music of two of this year’s recipients. Bluegrass master Mac Wiseman has one of the great voices in bluegrass music.  Back in the early 1970s, I had stopped listening to rock and pop and was acquainting myself with all types of acoustic and traditional music.  I decided to attend a bluegrass festival, and the one I chose was Mac Wiseman’s Bluegrass Festival in Renfro Valley, Kentucky.  This was a time before the huge festivals and the Wiseman affair was definitely small scale.  However, it was very friendly to a young college student eager to soak up the music.  I remember hearing Wiseman, Martha and Eddie Adcock (they were also doing the sound), the Lewis Family, and more.  Mac Wiseman’s tenor and Adcock’s innovative banjo playing stuck with me through the years, and when I hear Wiseman …