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bluegrass singer, Nashville
National Heritage Fellowship (2008)

Mac Wiseman (1925- ) was born in Virginia and had a long career in country and bluegrass music before coming to Nashville in 1969. After stints in the bands of Molly O’Day, Bill Monroe, and Flatt & Scruggs, Wiseman was the only bluegrass pioneer to distinguish himself as an independent singer, known for his pleasant tenor voice and melodic sentimental songs. Also a strong guitarist, Wiseman enjoyed a varied career in radio, the recording industry, and live performance before becoming a fixture at bluegrass festivals beginning in the late 1960s. He continues to be a popular senior statesman of bluegrass, keeping a deep repertory of traditional songs active in the genre.

National Heritage Fellowship profile

More Information

  • Ewing, Tom, “Mac Wiseman: Giving Something Back,” Bluegrass Unlimited 32, #10 (April 1998): 40-43.
  • Goldsmith, Tommy, “’It Was the Singing’ – A Conversation with Mac Wiseman,” Bluegrass Unlimited 40, # 8 (Feb 2006): 24- 27.
  • Irwin, John Rice. A People and Their Music: The Story Behind the Story of Country Music (Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Co., 2000), pp. 156-77.
  • Kingsbury, Paul, ed. The Encyclopedia of Country Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 597.
  • Rosenberg, Neil V., Bluegrass: A History (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), pp. 116-17.
  • Willis, Barry R., America’s Music: Bluegrass (Franktown, CO: Pine Valley Music, 1992), pp. 194-96.
  • Wiseman, Mac, with Paul F. Wells, “From Grass Roots to Bluegrass: Some Personal Reminiscences,” in Thomas Goldsmith, ed., The Bluegrass Reader (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 61-65.
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