The late Butch Baldassari had been considered one of the rising stars of bluegrass mandolin since his work with Weary Hearts delighted fans at festivals and club dates throughout the country, winning SPBGMA’s Best Bluegrass Band Award in 1988. He had appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion," "CBS This Morning," CNN and "Riders in the Sky Radio Theatre," and has released several CDs, including "Old Town,” and "Evergreen," a collection of traditional Christmas music.
Butch was widely respected as a teacher, having served as Adjunct Associate Professor of Mandolin at Vanderbilt University's renowned Blair School of Music. His instructional videos, books and tapes are among the most widely used by aspiring mandolin players, and his workshops at major bluegrass festivals and music camps, including Nashcamp, Steve Kaufman's Mandolin Kamp, Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center and others, were standing-room only sessions. In 1991, Butch founded the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, recruiting some of Nashville's most talented string players. The ensemble’s repertoire ranges from Bill Monroe's bluegrass to the music of O'Carolan and Vivaldi. Butch’s annual appearances at the Classical Mandolin Society had been among the venue’s most popular events.
Sadly, Butch was struck down by cancer and passed away in January, 2009.