Vassar Clements R. I.P.

Welcome to Vassar Clements'
Official Website

AUGUST 16, 2005

Dear Friends,

On August 16th 2005 at 8:35 am Nashville time, the angels in heaven
stopped singing for a moment, as they heard the most beautiful music
approaching from a distance - the high lonesome sound of Vassar
Clements' fiddle.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of this truly wonderful and
beautiful man whose purpose in life on Earth was in spreading love
and happiness to people, both through his music and through his
generosity and light of spirit.
Vassar indeed has touched the lives of so many of us, and we can all
count ourselves as blessed to have been witness to the musical genius
and kind-hearted nature of this great yet humble man.

It is a great testament to a life when those whose paths you crossed
hold you up as an example on how to treat others. Vassar's guestbook
is that testament and shows how incredibly loved and admired Vassar
was on this Earth by both those who knew him personally and those who
knew him only through his music.
I would like to thank Vassar's daughter Midge and son-in-law George
on behalf of all of us that loved Vassar for the great love and care
they have shown him since the passing of his wife Millie just over
seven years ago. Selfless and devoted, they not only took care of
Vassar emotionally and physically, but also jumped in and learned the
music business so Vassar could continue to play for all of us around
the country.

I picture Vassar and Millie in heaven, reunited in the love they
shared that transcends all things, him playing while she dances.

Thank You Vassar - God Bless You.
Rest In Peace.

I first heard him play fiddle on the "Old and in the Way" discs. Subsequently I sought bluegrass out. He was a giant.A
life well lived and a monumental loss.
Thank you for posting this. His style and virtuosity will be missed.
Thanks for sharing this, I knew he was sick and that it did not look good for him. I discovered Vasser's music through Dickey Betts (Allman Brothers) album, "Highway Call".
Certainly one of the greatest and most influential fiddlers ever.
I thank you as well. I actually had some association with
him back in 1966 when radio station KFDI in Wichita, Ks. decided to have an 'old time fiddle contest'. I was only 14 and he was a bit older. He, of course, won it going away and I was a very distant second. But already he displayed a very generous nature and a rare virtuousity. I'm sure that he will be remembered in many different ways as I know he touched many a person over his long and storied career.
Thank you. I was lucky enough to see Vassar once the year after Garcia died when Grisman reformed the "Old and In The Way" band (w/Herb Peterson replacing Garcia on banjo). Vassar was simply out of this world!

We will all miss him.
Vassar was one of the true legends of bluegrass and Americana music and will be sorely missed. Luckily for all of us his recorded output was enormous so there are plenty of formats to enjoy his virtuoso playing. Vassar, we know you're in heaven playing, it's yet another reason not to fear what comes next, just think about the band!
My youngest daughter, Carri, was on first name basis with Vassar. She sings and plays mandolin. I have a picture of him with his arm around Carri's shoulder. They got together several times a year at bluegrass/folk festivals around Florida. He was a kind, grandfatherly type of person to her and she was very saddened by the news.
Sad news. A poster on Audio Asylum mentioned that he played on 2,000 albums. That is an absolutely mind-boggling number. How did the man find time to sleep? He will definitely be sorely missed.
I don't know where I got it, or how long I've had it but I do have a Vassar Clements LP. I'm gonna have to pull it out and give it a listen.
The Seattle Times had a brief obit for Vassar Clements in today's issue. Here's the link:

The obit mentions that Clements played with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- I think that was the great recording they did titled "Will The Circle Be Unbroken", which featured a stellar collection of bluegrass musicians. If you like bluegrass and don't own this recording (re-mastered several years ago), you should add it to your collection.
Find your old Grateful Dead album "Wake of the Flood". Vassar plays on the track Mississippi Half step.
One of the posters to this thread, C123666, mentions hearing Vassar "the year after Garcia died when Grisman reformed the 'Old and In the Way' band with Herb Peterson replacing Garcia on banjo." C123666, could you tell us more about this reformed Old and In the Way band, like who was in it, when was it performing, did it make any records, and how did it compare with the original Old and In the Way group? I've been a huge fan of the original Old and In the Way records for 30 years, and love all 3 CDs resulting from those 1973 concerts. I'm not a bluegrass expert and would be delighted to find out that there is some more similar stuff out there that I didn't know about and can now acquire. Thanks.
Old & in the Gray, an excellent release after Jerrys' departure. Try Vassars' "Living with the Blues" a 2005 release for something different.

Rest in peace Vassar, we will miss you especially us down upon the Suwannee River...
Thanks for the tip. I ordered "Old and in the Gray" today.
This is a beautiful tribute to a great musician. He will be greatly missed.
Saw Chris Hillman with Herb Pedersen last night at a little club in Piermont N.Y. Herb dedicated a song off Chris' new cd to the great Vassar Clements. He added that Vassar was always there for the neophytes trying to play his kind of music. You could tell Herb was really bummed by the loss. Hillman played mandolin throughout and Pedersen played acoustic guitar. Both were in exquisite voice and their duets were seamless. A good mix of Byrds, Burritos,Manasas, Desert Rose Band and some country classics. Great evening.
Well it has been a year today since my dad Donald Laby passed away and it hasn’t gotten any easier for me or my family.

My father was the greatest man I have ever known. He always knew how to say the right things when I had problems. He taught me to be an honest, loving, good person, and to always do what I think is right, no matter what the cost.

He was into High Fidelity Stereo and taught me the balance of sound. He was always turning me on to good music and helped me in my quest to become a better musician. I have had many great experiences with music from violin to cello to voice to guitar, tenor banjo, keys and mandolin. I could not have done any of it without his support.

My dad was also a wonderful grandfather to my niece and nephew always opening their eyes to different possibilities, showing them photography and playing them songs on the stereo. He helped with their homework and kissed boo boos. I’ll never forget how he would look at them just imaging their own possibilities.

He showed me the ropes of life to the fullest extent and I know he is learning the ropes of the after life so when I’m done here, he can be by my side once again to help with the next process.

I can’t say how important it is to tell the people closest to you how much you love them.
Just do it. Tell everyone you care about just how much they mean to you and how your life is better because they are a part of it!