Jesse McReynolds passes (updated)

UPDATE 5:41 p.m. – Joy has just told us that Jesse passed peacefully with her at his bedside at 3:58 p.m. today.

We will publish a more detailed remembrance of this pioneer and founder in the bluegrass world soon.

Very sad news from Nashville today, as Joy McReynolds has shared that her husband, Jesse McReynolds, he of Jim & Jesse fame, has been moved into hospice care.

It seems impossible to say, but Jesse has been a professional bluegrass artist for 70 years. Starting with his brother Jim on guitar, they had their first record as Jim & Jesse in 1952. There followed a career streak of five decades playing and singing on the radio and in live performances, until 2002 when both McReynolds brothers were struck with cancer that same year. While Jesse survived to another 20 years in music, Jim succumbed to the cancer.

Until the pandemic shutdowns in 2020, Jesse was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, and kept an edition of The Virginia Boys going until his advanced age made it unwise to face the risk of infection.

Joy tells us that Jesse is very weak, and at age 94, they fear he is slipping away. Joy hopes that anyone who wants to say goodbye or share their support in his final days will do so by commenting here, or on her Facebook page, as they are able to read him messages. Jesse is not awake, but his nurses have assured Joy that he can hear them.

If you would like to send cards by postal mail, the address is:

PO Box 1385
Gallatin, TN 37066

Jesse is not able to receive visitors.

We are facing a very sad day, when the bluegrass world no longer has one of it’s earliest practitioners here participating in it.

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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.