On Thursday, May 5, 2011 Buffalo, NY lost one of its most prominent music advocates. Michael Meldrum passed away at age 60 following a long battle with liver disease. Michael spent his years nurturing the Buffalo singer/songwriter community, with the longest running open mike night at Nietzsche’s, yearly tribute concerts, teaching guitar, bringing spectacular talent to our fair city, and, of course, writing and performing his own beautiful songs.
Righteous Babe is proud to have released Michael’s one and only collection of songs, Open Ended Question, in 2006 featuring some of the best performers from the Buffalo area, exemplifying his ability to inspire and enhance the music community he so loved. The same year Meldrum was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.
Ani has long credited Meldrum for starting her career, below is the eulogy she wrote for Michael, delivered by her manager and Meldrum family friend Scot Fisher at the services last week:
“My friend Michael was many things. A loving husband and devoted father, as well as a dynamic and creative Buffalonian with many public faces. To me he was songwriter and folk singer first, and he taught me everything I needed to know about doing that job. Then there was Michael the organizer, the promoter, the host, and of course Michael the teacher, the fanner-of-flames.
“Let it be said that he spent his life connecting and nurturing people. Introducing this one to that one, showing this one around, getting that one started with this. He would spin community from his heels as he walked around the city in a dapper ensemble culled from thrift stores and seasoned by nights of arguing some point over a bar with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
“He was by far the most interesting person I’d ever met when our paths crossed in 1979 and he remains one of the most compelling figures in my life. When it came to music he had a way of putting a song into the world that was simple and without pretense. He made it look easy. He invited the world in. And with sly humor he coaxed the shy and scared out of themselves and into the light of each other’s attention. He showed us we can all offer something to the circle.
“Whenever someone took the brave step of opening themselves up, putting themselves out there, Michael was there to say yes. And he was the most inspiring of mentors because he was not all-knowing and infallible; he was raw and reachable, imperfect and human.
“And yes he had an ear, not for marketable ‘talent,’ but for the sound of someone freeing themselves through music — art doing its job. Of that, he was the master.
“We will have to work hard in Buffalo New York to pick up the slack left by Michael Meldrum’s passing. We will have to get out there and see each other more — show up — drop by. We will need to carry instruments around and launch into song at the dinner table, because we can. Because we are alive, and singing is a celebration of that. Oh Michael, we celebrate you!”

In addition to the countless musicians who will feel the absence of his presence in their daily life, Michael is survived by his wife, Diane Gall-Meldrum; a son, Alexander; and a daughter, Julia.

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