A sad day for bluegrass – and country – music.

Mike Henderson, a founding member of the legendary bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, passed away on Friday.

A native of Missouri, Henderson released his first solo album back in 1994 with Country Music Made Me Do It. But in 2006, he changed the course of country music when he founded The SteelDrivers, featuring Henderson on mandolin alongside Chris Stapleton on vocals, Tammy Rogers on fiddle, Mike Fleming on bass and Richard Bailey on the banjo.

The band released their self-titled debut album in 2008, and earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album with their 2010 album Reckless. Henderson and Stapleton co-wrote many of the band’s original songs, including “Midnight Train to Memphis” which Stapleton would later re-record for his solo album From A Room: Volume 2, and “If It Hadn’t Been For Love,” which pop superstar Adele recorded for the deluxe edition of her GRAMMY-winning album 21.

Stapleton left the band in 2010 to pursue a solo career, and Henderson followed a year later, but the two remained frequent collaborators.

Henderson won a GRAMMY as co-writer alongside Stapleton for Best Country Song with “Broken Halos,” and also joined Stapleton in writing songs like “Second One To Know,” “Death Row,” and “Starting Over.”

The SteelDrivers paid tribute to their founding member on Facebook, calling Henderson the band’s “original architect.”

Rest in peace, Mike. And thoughts and prayers to all of his friends and family. The music world lost a great one.


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