Jerry Foran, life-long bluegrass musician and band leader, died suddenly and unexpectedly at his home in Florida on June 7, 2019. He was 73 years of age, just missing his 74th birthday on June 23.
Foran had started his bluegrass journey in southwestern Virginia, where he formed his group, Jerry Foran and the Bluegrass Revolution. They recorded a pair of albums on vinyl in the 1980s, both self-titled, one on the Atteiram label. Their music was strictly of the traditional bluegrass style, with Jerry’s playing heavily influenced by Earl Scruggs.
After retirement, he moved to Florida where he remained active in the lively bluegrass scene in the central part of the state. There he also retained an edition of the Bluegrass Revolution who performed at shows and festivals.
When not performing, Foran worked on occasion as a bus driver for other bluegrass acts, and as a sound engineer.
Jerry was especially proud of his relationship with Gibson Musical Instruments, with whom he was an endorsing artist. He had also had the honor of being invited as one of 100 banjo players who performed a medley of Americana music at the July 4th, 1986, 100-Year Anniversary Statue of Liberty celebration.
During the Vietnam War, Jerry served in the 5th Special Forces, Green Beret, from circa 1965-68. He was badly injured during a battle on the slopes of Black Virgin Mountain in the Mekong Delta near the Cambodian border. Those injuries required a total of six back surgeries throughout his life.
He is remembered by many friends in the bluegrass world not only for his sparkling banjo playing, but for his big heart and his love for the traditional bluegrass sound.
Here are a couple of videos of Jerry with his band at WLRN in Miami back in 2010. In this first, he talks a bit about what attracted him to the banjo before playing a Sonny Osborne classic.
No information about funeral arrangements has yet been announced.
R.I.P., Jerry Foran.