Alabama banjo picker Jake Abrams passes

Jake Abrams, long time banjo player and bluegrass artist in Alabama and Louisiana, died on October 3 from complications of the COVID-19 virus. He was 58 years of age.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Jake was living in Lake Charles, LA at the time of his passing, and was hospitalized at the time.

Bluegrass fans will remember his work in a number of groups in the region, including Lonesome Heart, Timber Ridge, The Rawson Family, The Allegheny Drifters, and MacMartin and the Dixie Travelers, a few of which toured nationally. Jake won a number of banjo competitions in his younger days, and remained through his life a great admirer of fellow Alabama banjo picker Rual Yarborough, who was both a mentor and great friend.

Lisa, his wife of 23 years, with whom he performed in Timber Ridge, remembered Jake immediately following his passing by saying, “Jake loved 3 things fiercely – first God, then me, then Alabama football.” Abrams played football himself in high school, and served as a trainer for the Crimson Tide squad while attending the University of Alabama in the early 1980s. His church life was of tremendous importance to him, and he was actively involved in various aspects of ministry, including both education and music.

Friends recall Jake for his ever-present smile, and his countless words of encouragement to all with whom he came into contact.

A funeral was held for Jake on October 6 at the Double Branch Independent Baptist Church in Reform, AL where his body is interred in their cemetery. A larger Celebration of Life will be held in the near future.

R.I.P., Jake Abrams.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.