Jeremiah Gilmer covers East Nash Grass with Olivia Jo

If anything good has come out of the global pandemic, learning how to better communicate remotely would definitely top the list. Multi-instrumentalist, Jeremiah Gilmer, of southern Virginia, started making YouTube videos in 2013 of popular bluegrass numbers. During COVID, his multi-angle music videos brought joy to many stuck at home.

“I recorded all the music by myself,” he says, so his projects turned him into a one-man bluegrass band.

The musical prodigy followed with Facebook and TikTok submissions where his audience continues to grow. His most recent project is a collaboration with rising singer, Olivia Jo, from Stuart, VA.

Gilmer explained his process…

“I kind of put everything together. I’ve been listening to the new East Nash Grass album non-stop, and this was a tune that Theo MacMillan wrote on that album. I wanted to cover it, but needed a female vocalist. I met Olivia in person a few weeks ago at the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention and thought that this song would fit her voice really well. 

I recorded all the instrumentation and sent it to her to record, and then she sent back a video and vocal track for me to put it all together. I edited everything up to the final product (that) you can see on socials. Olivia will also be singing some harmony tracks on my upcoming gospel album.

It was a fun project, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with Olivia and others in the near future!”

Olivia Jo explained her role in the production.

“Jeremiah picked the song out himself, and later asked me to sing lead on it. He sent me the music track to record my vocals. I finished my vocal in a couple hours, and my part of the video shortly after.

Jeremiah and I were in a jam together at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax, VA this year. That’s where we met for the first time. After the jam was over, we talked about possibly doing some collaborations. I mentioned that I would be happy to put vocals on any projects he might have in the future.

When he asked me to sing lead on this cover of When You Come Home, I was more than happy to do so! He did a stellar job playing all the instruments and singing harmony

Jeremiah recently asked me to record some harmony vocals for a couple of songs on his gospel album, so I’m looking forward to doing that also!”

So even with almost four hours distance between the two, thanks to modern technology, working together doesn’t pose a problem. Look for more great music projects from these talented young bluegrass musicians, and Gilmer’s upcoming gospel album with more collaborations.

“I just enjoy putting a smile on people’s faces. I hope that I can shine a light on bluegrass music,” Gilmer concluded.

The future looks bright for Jeremiah Gilmer, Olivia Jo, and bluegrass music it seems.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.