24 June 2023

Jesse McReynolds, 9 July 1929-23 June 2023 (update)

Jesse McReynolds, one of the last of the founding generation of bluegrass music, died yesterday (23 June) of natural causes, at home in Nashville, just over two weeks short of his 94th birthday. He and his elder brother Jim had been the most successful and long-lasting exponents of the 'brother duet' harmony tradition. They were also innovative, both in Jesse's personal mandolin style and in recordings such as their 1965 album of rock songs, Berry pickin' in the country. They were inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993, and were made National Heritage Fellows by the US's National Foundation for the Arts in 1997.

After Jim's death in 2002, Jesse remained a keen and active musician and performer, and recently completed seventy years in the music profession. John Lawless's obituary and biography on Bluegrass Today includes videos from YouTube of three of the most popular recordings by Jim & Jesse.

Update 3 July: Jesse's funeral was held on Wednesday 28 June in Hermitage, TN. His family have asked that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Opry Trust Fund, One Gaylord Drive, Nashville, TN 37214.

© Richard Hawkins

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