The Maryland State Arts Council mourns the passing of master Piedmont blues guitarist John Cephas, who died on March 4, 2009. Mr. Cephas possessed a virtuosic skill on the guitar and performed and recorded regularly for over 30 years with Phil Wiggins in the duo Cephas & Wiggins. John Cephas was both a remarkable musician and a gifted spokesperson for the African-American Piedmont blues tradition that has historically been so vibrant here in Maryland. He was a national treasure, as recognized by his receiving the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1989 – the highest award given in the United States to traditional artists. He will be deeply missed.