Pete Corum passes

Photo of Pete Corum on the left courtesy of Jim Beaver.

Pete Corum, perhaps best known for his time with bluegrass great Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass during the mid-1970s, passed away on December 1, 2021. He was 73.

From Burlington, North Carolina, Jervis “Pete” Corum, who was born on November 4, 1948, played bass in a fill-in job for the Blue Grass Boys during 1971, as well as a few times during the 1980s.

Corum was a member of the Bluegrass Alliance (circa 1972) with Lonnie Peerce (fiddle), Garland Shuping (banjo), Ronnie Prevette (mandolin), and Jack Lawrence (guitar). 

He played bass with the Nashville Grass from the mid-to-late 1970s, and following Flatt’s passing, he remained with the band under the leadership of Curly Seckler. As well as doing many show-dates across the USA he recorded three studio albums with each. 

For a while Corum wasn’t a constant member of the Nashville Grass as he took time out to work as part of the Cotton Patch String Band for the original off-Broadway hit musical, Cotton Patch Gospel. Later he appeared in the motion picture version of the stage production (1988).

During this period, he released his House of the Rising Sun album on Programme Audio label also.

He left the Nashville Grass when Cotton Patch Gospel opened in New York City on October 21, 1981. 

The traditional folk song House of the Rising Sun was his signature song for many years. In this instance (with Lester Flatt at the Berkshire Mountain Bluegrass Festival in 1978) Corum gives free reign to his powerful tenor voice …..


Through the years he toured with James Monroe & The Midnight Ramblers, playing bass and singing tenor; and (in no particular order) was a member of the Misty Mountain Boys; The Roustabouts; the Brand New Opry Boys; and New Southern Ground. 

Also, for several years he fronted his own band Pete Corum & Rising Sun, which, periodically, included former members of the Bass Mountain Boys and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys. 

The Pete Corum Band performing on the Rt.1 Bluegrass Show 

He was also a lead actor for the mid-1990s touring version of the  Smoke on the Mountain play, and performed for many years at the Barn Dinner Theatre in Greensboro. 

Into the new century Corum played bass with Frank Ray’s Cedar Hill band for one season around 2006-2007, and worked with fellow North Carolina picker R C Harris and his Blue Denim band as needed in 2008 and 2009.

He was well known and much loved in the bluegrass music community.

R.I.P. Pete Corum 

A Discography 

Pete Corum 

  • The House Of The Rising Sun (Programme Audio PAS 110-679, 1979) 

Pete Corum & Rising Sun

  • Are We Ready? (Thunderbolt TB 5001, 1997)

Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass

  • Live Bluegrass Festival (RCA – APL1-0588, 1974 (2-LP set)) – recorded March 18, 1974, at the Vanderbilt University’s Neely Auditorium.
  • Heaven’s Bluegrass Band (CMH CMH-6207, 1976)
  • Pickin’ Time (CMH CMH-6226, 1978)
  • Lester Flatt’s Bluegrass Festival (CMH CMH-9009, 1978) – recorded live at Lester Flatt’s Mount Pilot Festival, near Pinnacle, North Carolina in June 1977.
  • The Tennessee Mountain Bluegrass Festival (CMH Records CMH -9014, 1978 (various artists)) – recorded Live From The Stage Of A Great American Bluegrass Festival, near Kingsport, Tennessee, on August 10, 11 and 12, 1978.
  • Fantastic Pickin’ (CMH CMH-6232, 1979)

Curly Seckler

  • No Doubt About It (Revonah RS-933, 1979)
  • Take A Little Time (CMH CMH-6241, May 1980)
  • There’s Gonna Be A Singing! (CMH CMH-6257, 1981 (with Betty Jean Robinson))

Red Allen

  • In Memory Of The Man (Folkways Records FTS 31073, 1980), as a member of the Nashville Grass with Curly Seckler. 

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.