I was very sorry to hear of Mike Seeger's passing, as I was returning from England. I knew he was in hospice care and the end was imminent, but it's not possible really to prepare yourself for the inevitable conclusion.
Mike was such a huge example for and influence on me in what he did with his life. He was an ace musician who continued to evolve his entire life, something that is really quite rare. He was a good Scruggs-style banjo player early on, later one of the very finest of the "brother-style" mandolinists, a strong singer who kept refining and focusing his style, an excellent guitarist in a variety of styles, a miraculously versatile banjo player later on, a great harp player on a rack, good Old-Time fiddler and an adept at various specialty instruments, like autoharp and quills.
In addition to the music he made, Mike worked so hard to make the music available to people who might otherwise never have heard it, and worked to honor the practitioners of the music who preceded him and to see that they received the recognition he knew to be their due. People like Dock Boggs, Libba Cotten, Maybelle Carter, The McGee Brothers and Arthur Smith would very probably never have performed for audiences around the country in the '60s and '70s had it not been for Mike's efforts. He had a real love for the music and the people who made it, as well as respect for the traditions out of which it arose. As accomplished as he was, he always seemed to maintain a genuine sense of awe towards the music and humility and gratitude for the opportunity he was afforded to participate in the tradition.
I will very much miss seeing where he would have gone next in the music, his new enthusiasms and discoveries. He really loved the music and the people who made it and I so appreciate that.