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Remembering Mac Wiseman

Read about the life and career of the recently departed Mac Wiseman

Mac Wiseman – photo LTTL

Vale Bluegrass and Country Statesman Mac Wiseman – 1925 to 2019

Such is his standing, Mac Wiseman was in the third class of inductees into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame, close behind Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and The Stanley Brothers.

Wiseman was a member of the Flatt and Scruggs band, singer and guitarist with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, led his own groups, sold records prodigiously at his peak, pioneered the twin harmony fiddle sound, was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame and, most important of all, had a peerless, sweet voice (dubbed “The Voice With a Heart”).

Malcom Bell Wiseman was born in 1925 in Virginia. Stricken with polio as a child, he took up guitar, and quickly became obsessed with a music career. His first appearance on record came as the bass player on Molly O’Day’s “The Tramp on the Street” in 1946.

Following periods with Flatt and Scruggs, as well as Monroe, Wiseman set out on his own in 1951 and then spent three years as a cast member of WRVA’s ‘Old Dominion Barn Dance’.

By the mid-1950’s, country music appeal in the mainstream was diminishing as rock ‘ roll took hold. Wiseman remained adaptable and agile. In 1958 he became the first treasurer of the Country Music Association which would eventually create the Country Music Hall Of Fame (he was inducted in 2014) and later helped organise the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

He recorded dozens of albums during his career (over 200 songs). Early hits included “Jimmy Brown The Newsboy” and “‘Tis Sweet To Be Remembered”. A number of compilation projects were made in the 1960s/70s with Lester Flatt and The Osborne Brothers. Later in the 1980s Wiseman toured and recorded with Chubby Wise.

Just prior to his passing, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Glenville State College in West Virginia.

Mac Wiseman’s voice was distinctive and his singing abilities never seemed to diminish. (Listening Through The Lens witnessed him at Music City Roots in 2014 and can testify to that).

Wiseman’s funeral was held in Nashville and honorary pallbearers included John Prine, Sonny Osborne, Bobby Osborne, Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, Marty Stuart, Mike Bub, Bill Anderson, Alison Krauss, Charlie Daniels and Vince Gill.

R.I.P. Mac Wiseman

Read about the life and career of the recently departed Mac Wiseman

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Author: Rob Dickens

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