Virtuoso fiddler Vassar Clements was a true musician's musician. Vassar was born on April 25, 1928 in Kinard, Florida and grew up in Kissimmee, Florida. Clements taught himself how to play the fiddle at age seven. He started playing for bluegrass legend Bill Monroe when he was only fourteen and still in school. Vassar became a regular Bluegrass Boy with Monroe in 1949 and was with him through 1956. From 1957 to 1961 Clements performed with bluegrass stalwarts Jim and Jesse McReynolds. In 1962 he took leave from music to pursue other interests, but returned to music full time when he decided to make Nashville, Tennessee his home in January, 1967. Vassar participated in recording sessions and played tenor banjo in Nashville's "Dixieland Landing" Club until October, 1969. Clements started touring with Faron Young and did occasional solo dates when time permitted. In February, 1971 he joined John Hartford and his Dobrolic Plectral Society. One of the most respected and sought after session musicians in Nashville, Vassar performed and/or recorded with a huge array of artists who include Jerry Garcia, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Johnny Cash, David Grisman, Dickey Betts, Paul McCartney, Linda Ronstadt, The Del McCoury Band, Gordon Lightfoot, Jimmy Buffett, The Grateful Dead, J.J. Cale, The Byrds, Hank Williams, Earl Scruggs, and The Allman Brothers. He recorded twenty-seven solo albums and played on over 200 albums throughout his long and impressive career. Vassar appeared as himself in Robert Altman's acclaimed movie "Nashville." Besides the fiddle, other instruments Clements played were the viola, cello, bass, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Moreover, his musical work encompassed such genres as blues, country, swing, jazz, bluegrass, and even waltzes. Vassar was married twice and had five children. Clements died at age 77 from lung cancer on August 16, 2005 in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
|Austin City Limits||Self 1 episode, 2000||1975|