We were saddened to hear that our dear friend, bluegrass picker, and avid bluegrass enthusiast Fred Etheridge of Sterling, CT, passed away Friday, October 1, 2010 after a valiant battle with cancer.
Fred was an impressive presence with his powerful build and snow white beard, but was one of the kindest and gentlest men I have ever met. A friend to all, he was always ready to pick his guitar and would gladly pick with anyone at any level of proficiency, making Fred a respected mentor to many budding bluegrass musicians in Eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. He played in many bands in his forty-plus years of making music, ultimately settling on guitar as his instrument of choice, and always playing in his own recognizable and tasteful style.
Fred held down significant positions in Bill Hall's band Northwind and the band Pine Creek (photo left) during his last decade. He most recently played with a country / bluegrass trio called Still Pickin', and another trio with Nick Anderson and Mark Doyle with whom he recorded a CD in early 2010. (photo below right of Fred and Nick courtesy of Jack Holland)
I was Fred's band mate in the group Pine Creek, and though Pine Creek never released a CD, I did have several recordings of the band made live at festivals and in the production studios of WHUS. I selected some of those tracks along with selections from Fred's CD to honor the man who meant so much to so many people.
As Fred was nearing the depths of his illness, he told me "I'm going to be playing with the Big Boys, maybe. I don't know if they will let me in the Field or not, but we'll see." I am certain that Fred was welcomed into the Field enthusiastically and there is a heck of a jam session going on now.
Fred Etheridge video by Jim Beaver 9/6/2010
Fred Etheridge tribute in red
Song / Artist / Album / Label
- Banjo In The Hollow / Rodney Dillard / I Wish Life Was Like Mayberry / Rural Rhythm
- In The Garden By The Fountain / Rhonda Vincent / Taken / Upper Management
- The Darlin' Boys / Rodney Dillard / I Wish Life Was Like Mayberry / Rural Rhythm
- Sweet Summertime / Rhonda Vincent / Taken / Upper Management
- God's Own Child / Peter Rowan / Legacy / Compass
- Peacemaker / The SteelDrivers / Reckless / Rounder
- I've Just Seen The Rock Of Ages / Rich In Tradition / Black Mountain Special / Mountain Roads
- Hand In Hand With Jesus / Ginger Boatwright / Inside The Gate / Self-released
- Let The Light Shine Down On Me / Doug Dillard / Heaven / Self-released
- Shenandoah Breakdown / Pine Creek / Live at Woodland Meeting House / Private Recording
- Your Old Standby / Pine Creek / WHUS Production Studio / Private Recording
- Home Is Where The Heart Is / Pine Creek / WHUS Production Studio / Private Recording
- Pine Creek Breakdown / Pine Creek / Live at Creamery Brook / Private Recording
- Plant Some Flowers / Pine Creek / WHUS Production Studio / Private Recording
- Washington Lee Fling / Fred Etheridge with Nick Anderson & Mark Doyle / Pickin' And Singin' / Self-released
- It's Never Too Late / Fred Etheridge with Nick Anderson & Mark Doyle / Pickin' And Singin' / Self-released
- What Would You Do / Fred Etheridge with Nick Anderson & Mark Doyle / Pickin' And Singin' / Self-released
- Precious Memories / Blue Around The Edges / Live at Blistered Fingers / Self-released
- Walking In A Dream / Fred Etheridge with Nick Anderson & Mark Doyle / Pickin' And Singin' / Self-released