Jim and Jesse McReynolds

Grand Ole Opry Members

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Jesse McReynolds 55th Opry Member Anniversary | Opry Milestones

The Jim and Jesse Show

Stories & Interviews

IN MEMORY of JIM McREYNOLDS


February 13, 1927-December 31, 2002
by Eddie Stubbs, Grand Ole Opry Announcer, Nashville, Tennessee

The longest active professional brother duet in the history of bluegrass and country music is now silent. On New Year’s Eve, word came of the passing of Jim McReynolds, 75, one half of the popular Jim & Jesse duo, a pioneering first generation act in bluegrass music.

James Monroe McReynolds was born on February 13, 1927 in the tiny community of Carfax, berween Coeburn and St. Paul, Va. Musical instruments were always abundant in the McReynolds family, and both Jim and his younger brother Jesse started playing music at a very young age. Both sides of their family played and sang the old-time traditional mountain music. In fact, their grandfather Charles McReynolds, a fiddle player of note, recorded at the historic RCA sessions held in Bristol, Va. in 1927.

When Jim & Jesse were learning to play and sing, the brother duet acts in country music were extremely popular. They listened to the radio shows and bought 78 rpm records of such pioneers as the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys, and sought to emulate their styles. With Jesse plauing mandolin and singing lead and Jim providing the tenor harmony and guitar accompaniment, the two brothers came up with a vocal blend that was uniquely their own.

Jesse McReynolds 85th Birthday Roast