Born in 1974, in Tampa, FL. Education: Studied with Mark O'Connor at Vanderbilt University, 1992. Addresses: Record company--Sugar Hill Records, P.O. Box 55300, Durham, NC 27717, phone: (800) 996-4455, website:

Aubrey Haynie has risen to the top of the country music and bluegrass world with his virtuoso fiddle and mandolin playing. He began playing the fiddle as a child, and by his mid-teens he was touring with such top-level artists as Aaron Tippin and Clint Black. Haynie has forged a name for himself as one of the most sought-after studio fiddle and mandolin players in Nashville, and his list of album credits is lengthy. In addition to his solid reputation playing with others, Haynie has released three critically acclaimed solo albums.

Haynie was born in Tampa, Florida, in 1974 and began playing fiddle at the age of nine. He soon added mandolin to his repertoire. Haynie quickly developed his skills and began gaining recognition as a bluegrass prodigy through his success in fiddle contests and his work with the Bluegrass Parlor Band, a Tampa group founded by Tom Henderson. Early in his career he was influenced by fellow Florida native and bluegrass fiddler Chubby Wise, who is generally regarded as one of the best swing and early bluegrass fiddle players.

While he was still in high school in the early 1990s, Haynie began touring with the country performer Aaron Tippin, and two years later, while still a teenager, he toured with popular contemporary country star Clint Black. When Haynie was 18 he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where he hoped to make his mark as a fiddler. There he met Fred Carpenter, a friend of fiddler Mark O'Connor. O'Connor, a onetime fiddle prodigy himself, was known for his skills in the progressive bluegrass genre and had even crossed over into classical music. While working as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University, O'Connor accepted Haynie as a private student. The young fiddler amazed his teacher with his ability to learn and develop the technical skills that would set him apart from other players. O'Connor's instincts were validated in 1997 when Haynie was nominated for Instrumental Performer of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).

Having worked steadily on tour with country stars Tippin and Black and with the bluegrass band Continental Divide, Haynie released his first solo album in 1997, when he was just 23 years old. For this first album, which highlighted Haynie's stellar fiddle and mandolin playing, a host of elite bluegrass and country acoustic stars, including Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, and Jerry Douglas, joined Haynie in a mix of bluegrass, country, and Western swing. Included on the CD were original instrumental tunes by Haynie, covers, and traditional compositions. Haynie's debut album was widely praised by critics and earned him nominations for Emerging Artist of the Year and Instrumental Album of the Year from the IBMA in 1998.

By the late 1990s and the early part of the 21st century Haynie had become the studio and session player on the fiddle in Nashville. He appeared on countless country and bluegrass albums and worked with such artists as Randy Travis, Shania Twain, SHeDaisy, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, and Rhonda Vincent, among scores of other artists. Happily for many fans of bluegrass, Haynie continued to write his own material and never strayed far from his bluegrass roots. In 2000 he released his second solo album, A Man Must Carry On. Haynie was joined once more by a who's who of contemporary bluegrass--Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas, and Ronnie Bowman, to list just a few. A Man Must Carry On included 16 tracks, 11 of which were Haynie's original instrumental compositions. Critics applauded Haynie's mature sound and his nearly flawless technique, and many recognized a new great in bluegrass music. "Mainly known as a fiddle player, Haynie's skills, dexterity, and musical vision excel on this instrument, but his mandolin skills are no less stunning," asserted PopMatters critic Dan Moss. "If you love bluegrass, but hear some of the schmaltz that has come to pass for bluegrass in the last decade or so--sappy acoustic music with a mandolin and banjo does not bluegrass make--Aubrey Haynie's new album will reaffirm your faith." In a review of A Man Must Carry On in Bluegrass Unlimited, the writer claimed that "[Haynie's] ability to wrap his lightning fast technique around a tone as voluptuous as ermine is one of the marvels of contemporary bluegrass, particularly as it is all at the service of the fleet mind of a true improvisor and a beguiling composer."

Just short of his 30th birthday, Haynie released his third solo album in 2003, scoring another critical success with an all-instrumental disc called The Bluegrass Fiddle Album. Following on the heels of a resurgence of interest in bluegrass resulting in part from the Grammy award-winning soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2002, Haynie's third solo CD seemed to solidify his reputation as one of the best bluegrass fiddle players around, one capable of turning out outstanding renditions of traditional tunes and of writing vibrant new pieces as well. Country Review critic Joe Ross praised Haynie as a "master musician who knows how to use all his technical proficiency to simply play these tunes as good as they've ever been fiddled in a neo-traditional manner." Many critics appreciated how Haynie, like bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, didn't allow his technical virtuosity to upstage the engaging, transcendent, and uplifting qualities that endear bluegrass music to so many listeners. Backed by Tony Rice on guitar, Sam Bush on mandolin, Barry Bales on bass, and David Talbot on banjo, The Bluegrass Fiddle Album struck a resonant chord among longtime and new fans of bluegrass for its mix of rousing and soulful tunes.

Haynie has been described as ubiquitous for his seemingly endless stints of studio and session work. What sets him apart from other session players who remain anonymous, however, is his distinctly creative and dynamic solo work. While he may not be a household name, he has clearly carved a niche among bluegrass legends despite his young age. Apparently reticent about announcing his own accomplishments, he has made very little information about his personal life available to the public. His music speaks for itself, and many fans and critics alike hope he will continue to be heard for years to come.

by Elizabeth Henry

Aubrey Haynie's Career

Began traveling the bluegrass circuit at the age of nine; started touring with country performers Aaron Tippin and Clint Black, 1990s; moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and studied under Mark O'Connor at Vanderbilt University, 1992; began career as session and studio player; released solo debut album, Doin' My Time, on Sugar Hill Records, 1997; released second solo album, A Man Must Carry On, 2000; released third solo album, The Bluegrass Fiddle Album, 2003.

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