Regular followers of High Fidelity know that while they are a relatively young group, the focus of their music is the bluegrass sound of the 1950s and ’60s. And they do a brilliant job of resurrecting songs from that era, retaining the uniqueness of that era and adding to them the enthusiasm of youth.
Tears of Regret was originally cut by Jim & Jesse in 1955, so they reached out to Jesse McReynolds to see if he might be willing to join them in the studio when they were recording. He was, and ended up not only singing a verse, but playing mandolin as well.
Guitarist Jeremy Stephens, who formed the group with his wife, fiddler Corrina Rose Logston, shared that Tears of Regret was one that Jesse co-wrote with Lucille Hutton. She was an amateur songwriter from around Bristol who had sent him her lyrics.
“According to Jesse, Ms. Hutton would send lyrics of songs she had written to many of the artists who played on radio in that region of the country. It’s likely that many of her songs have been recorded, but not all of the artists gave her credit, so it’s impossible to know for sure.”
Corrina added that they were so pleased that McReynolds was willing to collaborate with them on one of his songs, and encouraged him to add some of his non-crosspicked mandolin for the solo.
“Because Jesse has made so many amazing technical advancements to mandolin playing, Jeremy and I have always felt his ‘straight picking’ never got the attention it deserved. We told him we’d love to hear him do some of that on this recording, and he did an incredible job. Jesse’s singing on the third verse and final chorus is so excellent, it’s hard to fathom that he is performing on this recording at 90 years old! Jesse McReynolds is nothing short of a treasure, and collaborating with him was indescribably special!”
Here’s what they came up with.
High Fidelity also features Daniel Amick on mandolin, Kurt Stephenson on banjo, and Vickie Vaughn on bass.
Tears of Regret and the entire Banjo Player’s Blues album are widely available wherever you stream or download music online, and on CD directly from the band. Radio programmers can find the tracks at AirPlay Direct.