On Thursday evening, late multi-instrumentalist, banjo virtuoso, and Vermont music scene mainstay Gordon Stone was honored with a star-studded memorial livestream billed as “Touch & Go“. Among the many musical tributes included in the online memorial service, streamed by FANS, was a performance from Phish bassist Mike Gordon and his family.
“Hi everyone, this is our special tribute for Gordon,” Mike noted to begin the clip. “Gordon gave us a lot of great music and friendship. Gordon, wherever you are in Heaven, this is for you.” With that, the Gordon family—including Mike’s daughter, Tessa Gordon, and wife, Susan Schick—started in on a rendition of classic country hymn, “Angel Band”. With Mike Gordon accompanying on acoustic guitar, Tessa took lead vocal duties and harmonized beautifully with her parents as the song went on.
In addition to the Gordon family performance, the donation-based memorial featured words and performances by Stone’s admirers and collaborators including Al Schnier (moe.), Scott Murawski (Max Creek, Mike Gordon), Twiddle, Russ Lawton (Trey Anastasio Band), Tony Trischka, Larry Keel, Pappy Biondo (Cabinet), Michael Daves, and more. You can re-watch the full memorial service below or skip to 16:10 to watch the Gordon family’s performance.
Touch and Go: Gordon Stone Memorial Service Stream
Mike Gordon and Gordon Stone had a long history of collaborating during Stone’s life. As Mike Gordon noted in a social media post when Gordon Stone passed away earlier this month, “I took my first banjo lessons from [Gordon Stone], and pedal steel, too. He was in my first solo band, The Drop Caps, with [Scott Murawski] and Greg DeGuglielmo, for a show, and on my Inside In album and first solo tour. Twelve years ago when Sue and I got married it was the sound of his pedal steel before and after the ceremony. He was a long time friend and mentor. I will miss you, Gordon!”
Stone also played banjo and pedal steel on Phish’s “Poor Heart”, which was included on the band’s 1992 A Picture of Nectar album, in addition to “Fast Enough for You”, which appeared on 1993’s Rift. Stone’s own outfit, the Gordon Stone Band, notably performed at a mix of Phish’s concert events in years past including The Clifford Ball, The Great Went, and Lemonwheel.
The versatile musician was recognized with a Regional Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition” thanks to his work on the soundtrack for Jay Craven’s VPT series Windy Acres in 2005. Other artists within the bluegrass and jam band word with whom Stone had played over the years included Tony Trischka, Vassar Clemmens, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, and more.
In addition to the memorial service, Stone’s legacy was honored on Thursday with the release of a new album, The Music of Gordon Stone: A Retrospective Anthology, via Astrology Days Records, a label started by Stone’s friend and banjo protégé, Pappy Biondo, and John Morgan Kimock. The anthology was originally scheduled to come out on the day of Stone’s passing, Friday, July 10th. Digital downloads and vinyl pressings will be available on Bandcamp. A portion of the proceeds from the album release and memorial service will be donated to Backline, the music industry’s mental health and wellness resource hub.