Noted New York guitarist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Sholle has died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 70 years of age when he passed on May 17.
Born and raised in New York City, Jon was active in the bluegrass and folk music scene there, and was awarded the World Champion Guitar trophy at Union Grove fiddlers convention in North Carolina for both 1967 and ’68.
In New York, he worked with a who’s who of east coast string musicians, including David Bromberg and Vassar Clements, and relocated to California in 1984 to take the guitar spot with David Grisman when Mark O’Connor left the band. His two albums for Rounder, Catfish For Supper and Out Of The Frying Pan are still studied by flatpickers worldwide.
Once situated in California, Jon found work in film, appearing on screen in The Rose as a member of Bette Midler’s band, and in Peter Bogdanovitch’s They All Laughed. He added guitar to a number of other film soundtracks, and played in the pit for Broadway shows like Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Big River.
Jon had remained active until his recent illness, recording on Andy Statman’s Old Brooklyn album in 2011. Over his 40 year career in music, Sholle has recorded and/or performed with nearly every prominent act in progressive acoustic music. He often worked with Peter Rowan, Maria Muldaur, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and with Japanese musician friends in Tokyo.
Though he played many instruments in most every contemporary style, Jon retained a special fondness for the folk and bluegrass music he played as a young man.
R.I.P., Jon Sholle.