Jim & Jesse Tribute from Bluegrass Express

Plum River Records has released a first single from their upcoming album with Bluegrass Express, which is entitled A Tribute To Jim & Jesse.

The Express have been a staple on the midwestern bluegrass scene since their founding in northern Illinois back in 1980. Starting out with a father and son team of Gary and Greg Underwood on guitar and bass, respectively, it now includes Greg’s son, Jacob, on mandolin. The current outfit also features Oklahoma bluegrass brothers Andrew and Jonathan Hunt on fiddle and banjo, who had previously worked with the Byron Berline Band.

The Underwoods have had a long connection with Jim & Jesse, who helped them land their first record deal with Atteiram Records in 1985. With Jacob playing brilliant cross-picked mandolin in the Jesse McReynolds style, it seemed like a good time to remember their friends and mentors with a tribute project.

Don’t Say Goodbye If You Love Me is the inaugural track to be released, which the McReynolds put on their Bluegrass Special record in 1963. Bluegrass Express does a terrific job emulating the Jim & Jesse sound, much thanks to Jacob Underwood who sings Jim’s tenor part and plays Jesse’s mandolin style as well as you might hope.

The song was written by Jimmie Davis who initially recorded it in 1936, with a much slower country sound. Jim & Jesse, and now Bluegrass Express, sped it up for the bluegrass, and it works a treat.

Have a listen in this graphic video….

Don’t Say Goodbye If You Love Me is available today from popular download and streaming services online. Radio programmers can get the track now via AirPlay Direct.

Share this:

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.