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JIM AND JESSE (AND THE VIRGINIA BOYS)

  • From Coeburn, Virginia.
  • They recorded more than 50 albums for Capitol, Columbia, Epic, Kentucky, CMH, Rounder, Opryland Old Dominion, Pinecastle.
  • First public appearance: 1941 in St. Paul, Virginia (an amateur talent contest).
  • First influence: grandfather Charlie McReynolds, a fiddler and member of the Bull Mountain Moonshiners.
  • They were heavily influenced by the Delmore Brothers.
  • First band: the Cumberland Mountain Boys (1947-1948).
  • First radio show: on WNVA in Norton, VA (1947).
  • First recording: a collection of Gospel songs with their 1950 group, The Virginia Trio (which eventually became The Virginia Boys.)
  • 1952, recorded for Capitol in the historic Tulane Hotel in Nashville. The Virginia Boys included Sonny James on fiddle and Curley Seckler on guitar.
  • 1962, performed their first song on the Opry: “I’ll Never Love Anybody But You.” Jesse wrote the song as a joke (intended to be a rock and roll song) but it caught on and became a hit.
  • 1964, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • 1966-7, had their own syndicated TV show, sponsored by Martha White.
  • 1966, to expand their audience, they recorded an album of Chuck Berry songs called “Berry Pickin’ in the Country.” It flopped.
  • 1967, had their only “top 10” song on the country charts– “Diesel on My Tail.”
  • 1969, Jesse played mandolin on an album by The Doors.
  • Close friends with the Louvin Brothers. Jesse and Charlie Louvin were in the army together during the Korean war. 1982, Jim and Jesse recorded a trio album with Charlie.
  • Jesse has a trademark style of playing the mandolin which has become widely known as “McReynolds-style mandolin.” It is a distinctive cross-picking style which Jesse developed while trying to make his mandolin emulate the sound of the bluegrass-style banjo.
  • 1993, they were inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Fame.
  • They were also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Walkway of Stars,” the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, and Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
  • 1996, Jesse McReynolds married Joy Tipton.
  • March 29, 1997, celebrated 50 years in music with a celebration at the Grand Ole Opry House.
  • September, 1997, received a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship award from First Lady Hillary Clinton at the White House.
  • 1998, Jesse’s grandson Luke McKnight joined the Virginia Boys.
  • 2002, Jim McReynolds died of cancer on New Year’s Eve at the age of 75.
  • 2003, Jesse re-organized the Virginia Boys with Charles Whitstein singing his brother’s parts. Bobby Hicks also joined the band, playing fiddle.
  • 2004, released A Tribute to Brother Duets with Charles Whitstein (Pinecastle).
  • 2008, Jesse began hosting a weekly radio show from his family farm and music theatre (The Pick Inn) on WHIN, Gallatin, Tennessee.
  • 2010, Jesse released Jesse McReynolds and Friends: Songs of the Grateful Dead album (Woodstock).
Artist List

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