Mac Wiseman Dead at 93
Mac Wiseman has died. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member passed away on Sunday morning (Feb. 24), at the age of 93.
One of the founders of the Country Music Association, Wiseman -- known as "The Voice With a Heart" -- was a recording artist, radio host and record label executive throughout his lengthy career. According to Bluegrass Today, Wiseman died at a rehabilitation facility in Antioch, Tenn., after experiencing kidney failure in recent weeks.
Born on May 23, 1925, in Virginia, Malcom B. Wiseman survived polio when he was a baby, which would later affect his mobility. He picked up the guitar at 12 years old, MusicRow reports, but began his career is a radio DJ in 1944.
In 1946, Wiseman joined country singer Molly O'Day's band. Early in his career, Wiseman also served as a member of Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys and Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, and toured with Hank Williams. His time on the Louisiana Hayride radio show earned him fame as a solo artist; he'd later perform on the Old Dominion Barn Dance as well.
In 1951, Wiseman signed with Dot Records; in 1955, he earned a Top 10 hit with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett." "Your Best Friend and Me," "Love Letters in the Sand" and "Shackles and Chains" are among his other well-known songs. Wiseman also recorded for Capitol Records, RCA Records, Starday and other labels, cutting more than 200 songs.
Wiseman was the youngest of the CMA's founders, and when he helped create the organization in 1958, he was elected as its first secretary. When he died, Wiseman was the last living CMA founder.
Wiseman became an A&R executive for Dot Records in 1956, a position he held until 1963. After living in California during his years working for Dot, Wiseman moved to Wheeling, Va., in 1965, to manage the WWVA Jamboree.
Wiseman headed back to Nashville in 1968 to again work as a recording artist, but in the 1970s, he began turning back to his roots in bluegrass music. From 1970 until 1983, Wiseman ran a bluegrass music festival in Renfro Valley, Ky., and in 1986, Wiseman helped establish the International Bluegrass Music Association. His career also includes work as the narrator of 1992's High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music.
In recent years, Wiseman released a solo album (2014's Songs From My Mother's Hand) and an autobiography (2015's All My Memories Fit to Print).
Wiseman was inducted into Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014. He was a 2008 National Heritage Fellowship recipient and had recently received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from West Virginia's Glenville State College.
Wiseman is survived by five children: Randy, Sheila, Christine, Maxine and Scott. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
The Boot will update this story with more details as they are made available.
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