Jesse McReynolds undoubtedly qualifies for inclusion in the small circle of living legends in bluegrass music.
His long career with his late brother Jim saw Jesse develop a pioneering, crosspicked mandolin style that bears his name. It also showed him to be a passionate lead vocalist and perhaps the most prodigious songwriters in bluegrass history. During the hey day of Jim & Jesse, it was said that Jesse would write a new song every day they were on the road, often performing them on stage that same night.
We posted last month about McReynolds’ upcoming Grateful Dead tribute album, due for release on October 5. It will take Jesse out of his bluegrass comfort zone, and finds him singing and picking with an electric band.
But before that album comes out, he has a new single to offer both the bluegrass and country markets. The song is United We Stand, and Jesse wrote it hoping to help unite his fellow American citizens around a shared love for their country.
“I love this country. I served in Korea. There is hardly a town across this great nation that my music has not taken me. I’ve come to know its people and the strength we have when we work together. We are Americans, citizens of the United States of America; our future depends upon us pulling together. I have the faith that if we do, we can turn this country towards a positive future – ‘United We Stand – Divided We Fall.’ ”
The single has been produced as both a bluegrass and country track, and features Jesse along with country crooner John Conlee, Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers and Duane Allen of The Oak Ridge Boys. Here’s a taste of the grassy version:
United We Stand: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/united.mp3]
Jesse is on mandolin, along with Charlie Cushman on banjo, Steve Thomas on fiddle and guitar, and Kevin Grant on bass. The country version has Marty Stuart on guitar, Buck White on piano, Steve Thomas on guitar, Kevin Grant on bass, Chris Wood on drums, and Tommy White on steel guitar.
Both mixes have been distributed to radio stations across the US, and Jesse is hopeful that it finds an audience.
“I hope that fans of my music will call in and request it. But more than that, I hope that all those who love this great country will take this song to heart and unite for the future of America.”
More information about United We Stand can be obtained by contacting Jesse’s wife and manager, Joy McReynolds.