NASHVILLE, TN (CelebrityAccess) — Mac Wiseman, the Country Music Hall of Fame bluegrass vocalist and guitarist who was known as the “The Voice With a Heart,” died on Feb. 24, 2019. He was 93 years old.
According to the New York Times, his companion and caregiver, Janie Boyd said the cause of Wiseman’s death was kidney failure.
Wiseman began his career playing the upright bass for Cumberland Mountain Folks, the band of country singer Molly O’Day, but had his first big break when Lester Flatts and Earl Scruggs asked him to play guitar in their new band The Foggy Mountain Boys after they parted ways with Bill Monroe.
He also performed with Monroe as part of the Bluegrass Boys and as a solo artist, scoring hits such as “‘Tis Sweet to Be Remembered”, and “Jimmy Brown the Newsboy,” “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and “Shackles & Chains.”
Wiseman a popular touring artist during the folk revival of the 1960s, performing at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl and an open invite on the festival circuit, and that led to another side career as a festival host for several years in the 1970s and 1980s.
He also worked outside of the bluegrass scene, recording with artists such as John Prine and funk legend Bootsy Collins. As well, he served as an in-house producer for Randy Woods’ Dot Records and helped to run the label’s California division.
Wiseman, inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014, was a founding member of the Country Music Association in 1958 and its Board of Directors’ first Secretary.
“I liked all kinds of music,” he told the New York Times in 2006. “I liked Bing Crosby and Montana Slim, and the reason that I mention those two is that they both had network radio shows, two 15-minute programs in the morning, back to back out of New York, when I was 8, 9 years old — and it just struck me that I liked one as well as the other.”