& The Virginia Boys
“Mr. Mandolin” Jesse McReynolds is a living legend and elder statesman of bluegrass music, but the years haven’t slowed him down much at all when it comes to his music and creative ideas for new projects. With his late brother Jim, Jesse received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1997 for their contributions to American music. Members of the Grand Ole Opry since 1964, Jim & Jesse were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993. Jesse McReynolds has received four Grammy nominations and recorded more than 50 albums, most of them still in print. A few of his original songs that have become standards include “Dixie Hoedown,” “Drifting and Dreaming,” “Hard-Hearted” and “Border Ride.” A unique stylist who has influenced several generations of musicians, Jesse is known in particular for a unique mandolin style he created and popularized called “cross-picking” that involves intricate split string patterns similar to a banjo roll.
Jesse has recorded with many artists, including a memorable session with The Doors on their Soft Parade album. Jim & Jesse performed throughout Europe, Japan and under the sponsorship of the State Department, in Africa. Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys have entertained enthusiastic audiences at venues like the Newport Jazz Festival, the Smithsonian Institution Folk Life Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and many more.
Recent projects have included a Grateful Dead tribute to Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter which received critical acclaim and led to a number of national performances including a show at the Rex Foundation Benefit in "The Wheel: A Musical Tribute to Jerry Garcia," at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Last year McReynolds played his grandfather’s fiddle on an album produced by Carl Jackson called Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisted, which led to a performance with Jackson and Larry Cordle at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass 2015 in Raleigh, NC, among others. The double CD was released in 2015 as a benefit fundraiser for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN.
Since the passing of his brother Jim in 2002, Jesse McReynolds has continued to perform on Opry and carry on the legacy they built together for 55 years. Jesse’s open and appreciative regard for all types of music makes every show a surprise. Whether he's playing with bands like The New Riders of the Purple Sage, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix, The Dark Star Orchestra, or his Virginia Boys Band, Jesse continues to play concerts, festivals, and halls big and small, across the country.
Jesse is currently in the studio working on a new instrumental album that spotlights the fiddle and banjo his grandfather played on the original Bristol sessions. Michael Cleveland, Jim Brock, Glen Duncan, Jim Buchanan, Steve Thomas, Carl Jackson and Raymond McLain are the musical guests lined up to play the legendary instruments.