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Feb 15, 2020 - 7:58:51 PM
129 posts since 2/6/2009

Passing along news of Mac's passing. As a founding member of the Highwoods Stringband, Mac was a driving force in the revival and resurgence of Old Time music. He will be sorely missed. RIP, Mac.

Edited by - Paulie Ray on 02/15/2020 20:00:27

Feb 15, 2020 - 8:06:24 PM
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764 posts since 12/19/2010

Sad news. Here is a short video tribute from Larry Edelman who produced the "Dance All Night" documentary.

Feb 15, 2020 - 10:46:35 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23221 posts since 6/25/2005

Indeed. Mac was a force in old-time music both before and after the Highwoods.

Feb 15, 2020 - 10:46:51 PM



13451 posts since 12/11/2003

Thanks for everything. RIP Mac.

Feb 16, 2020 - 3:31:33 AM

295 posts since 2/26/2012


Feb 16, 2020 - 4:14:48 AM
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3748 posts since 3/11/2004

I still have vivid memories of Mac and the Highwoods playing at the bluegrass festival on the Belvedere in downtown Louisville. It was my first exposure to high-energy old-time music. It took a while, but I finally found my way into that music and tons of fun and fine people.


Feb 16, 2020 - 5:00:35 AM

766 posts since 5/19/2018

MAc was an inspiration for many. A good person and as solid musician as ever walked the earth.

Thank you for the music and the times playing.


Feb 16, 2020 - 5:27:48 AM
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2054 posts since 12/16/2007

Another one done gone. Sad!

Feb 16, 2020 - 7:16:16 AM
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R Buck


2741 posts since 9/5/2006

Originally posted by carlb

Another one done gone. Sad!

Carl, as we live we will lose. We are the old timers now and younger folks can ask us about those who came before and we can tell them but they will never know exactly as we have what it was like or what a fine man Mac was. I hope there is a big jam tent somewhere on the other side.

Feb 16, 2020 - 9:06:52 AM

397 posts since 9/23/2009

Mac gave the best clawhammer workshops or lessons I have ever attended, at the Grassroots Culture Camp in Trumansburg, New York for a couple of years. I'm working on his brilliant "Half Past Four" tabs now. RIP Mac.

Feb 16, 2020 - 3:26 PM

84 posts since 11/29/2012

Feb 16, 2020 - 10:45:11 PM
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6415 posts since 6/27/2009

Mac’s music has lit up my playing, too. His winning ways and constant smile will be missed.

Feb 17, 2020 - 6:53:46 AM



8394 posts since 10/5/2006

Very sad news. I heard of Mac’s passing from a musician friend last night. And Clyde Davenport too.

Feb 17, 2020 - 10:23:15 AM
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1072 posts since 12/12/2007

Originally posted by m06

Very sad news. I heard of Mac’s passing from a musician friend last night. And Clyde Davenport too.

Surprised there isn't a discussion on Davenport's passing too. 

Feb 17, 2020 - 10:29:34 AM

814 posts since 3/23/2006

We sadly noted the deaths of both Mac and Clyde at a jam last night. We played some tunes from Clyde and from HIghwoods.

Feb 18, 2020 - 9:45:41 AM

Paul R


12426 posts since 1/28/2010

Awful news. It was the Highwoods' first LP, and their playing with drive and fun, that got me into Old Time music. RIP Mac and condolences to his family and friends.

Feb 18, 2020 - 10:16:07 AM
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7271 posts since 9/29/2004

Originally posted by Bill Rogers

Indeed. Mac was a force in old-time music both before and after the Highwoods.

Yes, he was! The Highwoods String Band did a lot to bring back the old-time string band to popularity too. They were all rough, rowdy, and there to have a good time, and the music they played was actually fun to dance to. They were all great ambassadors of the music at a time when it was close to becoming something found only on the back shelf of a museum.



Feb 20, 2020 - 5:26:26 AM
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14988 posts since 3/27/2004

For those who wish to get to know Mac in his own words I'll mention the Mac Benford interview that Craig Evans did with him.  It's available as streaming video for a small charge right here on Banjo Hangout.  Many other fine players as well as builders, collectors, and banjo historians are presented on Craig's video series, also available here on the Hangout as merchandise.

Mac Benford streaming video

Feb 20, 2020 - 1:34:52 PM
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3794 posts since 5/12/2010

Up until now I was unfamiliar with Mac Benford but the provided links will lead me to rectify that.

Of Clyde Davenport I am familiar with his music, and have a number of recordings, but never had the chance to meet the man.

One thing about any of the "Old Timers", is they are old, and if you are fortunate enougth to be able to spend time with them while they are still on this side of the curtain, spend it wisely.

Some in this conversation might even be considered the current lot of "Old Timers".

I will be going up to WV next month to visit Dwight Diller, and if things work out we will go visit the Roberts over in Frame Town. Ralph Roberts is 91 years old now, and I can not describe how much I appreciate having the good fortune to have known such a kind gentle man, Ralph is one, if not the only, last living link to the Hammons family music. He grew up with them, and plays the music from that time.

Feb 24, 2020 - 9:21:59 PM

84 posts since 11/29/2012

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