OUR ARTISTS

VASSAR CLEMENTS
Vassar Clements was one of the world's finest and most versatile fiddle players. His phenomenal ability to virtually play any kind of music (bluegrass, country, pop, blues, rock, jazz and swing) garnered him numerous awards, including five Grammy nominations. He was also a prolific composer of instrumentals and played seven instruments - violin, viola, cello, bass, mandolin, guitar and tenor banjo.

Vassar's career spanned over fifty years. His association with Bill Monroe began when he was only 14 years old and still in school. He started with Bill as a regular Bluegrass Boy in 1949 and was with him through 1956. From 1957 to 1961 he performed with bluegrass stalwarts, Jim & Jesse McReynolds. In 1962 he took leave from his music to pursue other interests, but returned to full time music when he decided to make Nashville his home in January 1967.

Vassar did recording sessions and played tenor banjo in Nashville's "Dixieland Landing" club until October 1969. He then started touring with Faron Young and doing occasional solo dates when time permitted. In February 1971, he joined John Hartford and his "Dobrolic Plectral Society", initiating a professional association and personal friendship that grew even stronger through the years. After ten months, and earning an enormous amount of recognition and popularity the group decided to disband. Vassar then found himself with the legendary Earl Scruggs and the "Earl Scruggs Revue."

During this time, one of the most important milestones in his career, was his participation on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 Landmark album "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." This historical event was produced by William McEuen and featured an extravaganza of bluegrass, country and folk's greatest artists.

Within a few short months, Vassar was recording and/or performing with Dicky Betts, Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, David Grisman, Paul McCartney et al. In May 1973, The Classic, "Old & In The Way" album was recorded in San Francisco during a live performance.

Since 1973, when Vassar signed his first major label deal with Mercury/Polygram records, his personal discography totals 27 albums ranging from country, waltzes, swing & jazz. Ironically, in 1992 he recorded his only straight bluegrass recording for Rounder Records entitled "Grass Routes."

To say that Vassar Clements was a musicians' musician is an understatement. His modest demeanor and his professional approach to music made him an idol to many in the entertainment industry. He was the quintessential American musician. Vassar passed away in August of 2005.