Winner of the National Heritage Fellowship, the most prestigious honor in folk and traditional arts awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Bending the Rules” is a final nominee for the IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year.
Grand Ole Opry member since 1964 and in 2016 is the oldest member!
Jesse McReynolds is universally considered one of the finest instrumentalists in bluegrass music. Along with his brother, they formed the duo Jim & Jesse, and with their band The Virginia Boys they recorded dozens of albums including several top-ten country singles. Jim and Jesse became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964, and Jesse remains a member since Jim’s death in 2003.
Jesse McReynolds developed a unique “crosspicking,” mandolin style based, in part, on the bluegrass banjo sound of Earl Scruggs. This and his other instrumental innovations have placed him among the great traditional musicians of our time. Crosspicking is just one of the techniques he has developed to make the instrument sound the way he wants it to sound. With crosspicking he created the technique of playing “melodically”, using scales across the strings by playing individual strings in patterned rolls.
Much of Jesse’s playing is so uniquely technical and demanding that he has no real rivals among his imitators. While many mandolinists have worked a number of cross-picked pieces into their repertoire, there is no-one who uses crosspicking as frequently as Jesse has same degree of complexity and sophistication.
On this recording Jesse is joined by a true fiddle genius, young Travis Wetzel. Travis pushes Jesse to new heights and together the two create exciting arrangements of eight original Jesse McReynolds compositions, and four other traditional songs.
Ed Morris names Jesse McReynolds’ OMS Release “Bending The Rules” as one of the “TOP 10 Country Albums of 2004”:
“Jesse McReynolds With Travis Wetzel, ‘Bending the Rules’ (OMS): Since his brother’s death, the surviving half of Jim & Jesse has continued to turn out inspired music. Here the trailblazing mandolinist teams up with “the mad fiddler” Wetzel for a romp through such finger-twisters as “El Cumbanchero,” “Limehouse Blues” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.”
December, 2016 – NOTE – We are working with Jesse on a new bluegrass recording with some of the parts being recorded 10 years ago on a project that was never completed. It is great fun, and at 88 years Jesse is still going into the studio to record. Stay tuned in 2017. There is some great music here.
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