Band Together For Butch

        My first mandolin teacher, Butch Baldassari, of Nashville, Tennessee is fighting a tough medical battle.  As a Doc, I don’t feel like I should write up all the details, but his story is well outlined on his website, SoundArt Recordings.  Also, our Mandolin Cafe keeps us posted with regular updates. 

        Butch was not only my first teacher, but for the mandolin community he is “America’s teacher.”  My guess is more mando students got their start from his mandolin intro series than any other source.  I recently picked up a few of his items I did not have, and his wife sent me a “Band Together For Butch” arm bracelet, which I now wear every day.  The bracelet has become the symbol of support for Butch in our little tight-knit community of mandolin folks.

        So, go over to SoundArt Recordings and visit.  As you know, mine is a 100% non-commercial weblog, but if you have an interest in what all the mandolin fuss is about consider picking up one of his CDs.  The family could use the support and IMHO (bluegrass for in my humble opinion) you will get more than your $15.00 in blessings. 

        When you look at his site you will see there is something for everyone.  Butch is great at bluegrass, but it doesn’t stop there.  He has CDs of mandolin orchestra, Christmas music, hymns, Irish, Celtic, and much more.  My personal favorite is the spare and humble “Appalachian Mandolin and Dulcimer.”  Butch grew up in Pennsylvania, but it sounds like it could have been recorded on a N.C. mountain front porch like some of locales I report from.

        Most of all, y’all send up some prayers for my old friend.  His illness falls into the category of “things old Docs can’t understand why it is that way,” and he and his people are in my thoughts and prayers.

Dr. B

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8 Comments on “Band Together For Butch”

  1. Bob Brancato Says:

    Terribly sorry to hear about your friend. I’ve added him to my prayer list. I can relate to the unexplained. Two of my dearest friends from grade school just lost their 22 yr. old daughter to pancreatic cancer. I included a brief post about her on my blog. No explanation for that.

    On a lighter note, I’m a semi- OK guitar player with tons of influences. Have you heard of the Gibson Brothers? They’re a bluegrass band from a town very near me named Ellenburg Depot. I’m a big Bob Wills fan as well and blues lover.


  2. drtombibey Says:


    My goodness, the 22 year old young lady- some things can’t be understood. That is a true heartbreaker. I can’t imagine dealing with such a loss.

    Yeah, I love the Gibson Brothers. Upstate New York meets Kentucky. Great work. I don’t know them personally, but I think Ted Lehmann who is on my blog roll does- he has written up some of their shows.

    Bob Wills, the blues- all good by me. I’m mostly a tuned in fifths guy (mandolin mandola etc.) but know some guitar. Been messing with tenor guitar lately- sort of cheating ’cause all I gotta do is think mandola, but it has a neat sound.

    Hit ’em good and play hard.

    Dr. B

  3. mrschili Says:

    I’m off to check it out. I can spare $15 worth of good wishes, certainly…

  4. drtombibey Says:


    Ole Butch is a good’un. We all hope things get better. I don’t think he is playing much right now, a real downer for musicians.

    Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    I’ll certainly check it out.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    Butch is a cool guy and has a cool site. He is another example of how traditional music is by no means a strictly southern phenomenon.

    He is a great mandolinist. I better keep my day job.

    Dr. B

  7. Smitty Says:

    Doc, thanks for the info on Mr. Butch. I had noticed that the Mandolin Cafe had posted some thoughts on his condition. Mrs. Smitty deals with this stuff every day at the cancer center where she is employed. A cruel disease to say the least.

    Fan Club is stable at this point. Membership is at an all time high. It has been a while since I checked in and I might have a little unfinished business ot take care of. Did I notice in a previous post that Ted wanted to become a member of our growing organization? If you make a contact, pass along the invite.

    Headed to moms tonight to eat that skillet fried chicken and home made biscuits that will be dripping in Golden Eagle syrup. I know I have promised you a skillet full when you make your way south and east.

    The blog is going well for you. Keep up the heart felt stories and don’t forget your first love. Take care for now. I will check in later this week.

  8. drtombibey Says:


    Thanks for checking in on Butch. I talked to him recently, and his voice sounded good.

    The English Professor would be glad to be the point man for the New Hampshire outpost of the Mississippi fan club. He and his Irene make the rounds on the bluegrass trail. They are good folks and can be reached off my blogroll at Ted Lehmann’s site. I will touch base with him too.

    Ms. Marfar says hello. When we come to visit will pick a few. I can switch off and play guitar if needed. Maybe we can put together something for the school or your church. Hope the kids are doing well.

    I know the teacher in you always worries over the students, but no fear. Even though I’m no longer a young’un, I still study doc books like a wild man. Like Satchel Paige said, (paraphrased) don’t look back, someone might be catching up with you.

    The blog is doing well. You know, I have the same loves on this earth I always have- Marfar, the kids, the extended family, my patients, my staff, music, the band and my now anemic golf game, but I have to add my readers to the list. They have added a new dimenson, and I’ve learned a bunch from them as I’ve gone along.

    God bless Mississippi. They gave us Jerry Clower, Faulkner, and Marty Stuart. What a state. (I am an honorary Mississippian by decree of your High School.)

    See you in the fall. Keep the skillet good ‘n greasy.

    Dr. B

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