Jim & Jesse Go Country on New Album

Bluegrass Brahmins Jim & Jesse McReynolds will release Our Kind Of Country, an album of traditional country music, in April on Pinecastle Records. The album features songs made famous by Ray Price and Buck Owens.

Backing the Grand Ole Opry stars on the project are Opry staff band members Jimmy Capps on guitar; Billy Linneman, bass; and John Gardner, drums. Additional musicians are Buddy Griffin and Luke McKnight, fiddler and mandolinist, respectively, for Jim & Jesse’s band, the Virginia Boys, and pianist Willie Rainsford and steel guitarist Jeff Newman.

“We decided to go back and do some real country, like it used to be,” says Jesse McReynolds, who produced the album. “I hear these new artists say, ’Well, I’m going to do it more country,’ and then I hear their records and I don’t know what they’re going by. We tried to capture the old Ray Price and Buck Owens sounds. Jeff Newman is one of the few people who’s got a steel guitar that can get that sound like [Ralph] Mooney did.”

Mooney played steel on many of Buck Owens’ records and co-wrote “Crazy Arms,” Ray Price’s first No. 1 hit. McReynolds says he used the fiddle and steel as principal instruments on the new album “like Ray Price did originally.”

The cuts include the Price covers “Wasted Words,” “Heartaches by the Number,” “Heart Over Mind,” “Same Old Me,” “I’ve Got a New Heartache” and “Invitation to the Blues.” The Owens covers are “Under Your Spell Again” (which was also a hit for Price), “Foolin’ Around” and “’Til These Dreams Come True.”

Also on the album are Jim & Jesse’s composition, “The Voice of My Darling”; McKnight’s version of the Johnny Paycheck hit, “Lovin’ Machine”; and a new Jesse McReynolds song, “The End of My Rainbow.”

McReynolds notes that Jim & Jesse put their own bluegrass imprint on these country hits when they first came out, often performing them on their local television shows during the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Jim & Jesse will perform selections from the album tonight (Feb. 1), at the sixth annual Keith McReynolds Fund benefit (also called the “Grand Ole Opry Bluegrass Spectacular”) at the Civic Center in Gallatin, Tenn. The event will run from 6:30 – 11 p.m. CT and also will feature appearances by The Osborne Brothers, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Mac Wiseman, the Larry Stephenson Band, the Reno Brothers, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, Valerie Smith, Leroy Troy, the Clark Family Twins, the Del McCoury Band and various local acts. Tickets — $15 for adults and $7.50 for children 6 to 12 — are available at the door. WSM-AM (650) will broadcast live from the Gallatin Civic Center from 3 – 8 p.m. and 9 to midnight, CT.

McReynolds says he has another album coming soon from Pinecastle, this one co-starring Bobby Osborne of The Osborne Brothers. Called Masters of the Mandolin, it is primarily an instrumental display but also contains four vocal cuts.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.