Keith McReynolds Succumbs to Long Struggle With Illness

Memorial Benefit to Take Place

Keith McReynolds, 44, son of famed bluegrass mandolinist Jesse McReynolds (Jim & Jesse), died yesterday, Feb. 2, after an extended battle with multiple sclerosis.

McReynolds was an 18-year member of Jim & Jesse’s band and played electric bass. Jim & Jesse have been Grand Ole Opry members since 1964.

The Bluegrass Spectacular benefit concert for Keith that Jim & Jesse have hosted annually in Gallatin, Tenn., will continue tonight (Feb. 3) as originally planned. The benefit will be a memorial in his memory. The lineup includes a long list of greats including Jim & Jesse, the Osborne Brothers, the Del McCoury Band, the Nashville Bluegrass Band and Mac Wiseman, among many others. The show will be performed in 15-minute segments, much like an Opry performance, at the Gallatin Civic Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Raymond McLain of the family group the McLains, who performed with Jim & Jesse & the Virginia Boys for eight years, was a close friend of Keith McReynolds since the early `70s. “He always entertained everyone in the audience and was a good friend to all the other musicians as well. Keith was so supportive with his playing and his personality too, whenever he was there, not only was his part wonderful, but everyone else’s part was better for him being there.

“Even after he stopped playing on the road, he continued playing in the group on the Opry and in town, and he even traveled with us some on the road after he could no longer play,” McLain remembers.

“What Keith gave me over the years when we were traveling together was his smile, his attitude and his amazing sense of humor. He kept that all through his illness. He was a very spiritual person, and he had amazing faith and confidence.”

The proceeds from the concert will be used to help defray medical and convalescent expenses for the McReynolds family.

Services will be at Southside Baptist Church, 1028 South Water, Gallatin, Tenn. on Saturday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m. Visitation will be at Alexanders Funeral Home, 584 Nashville Pike in Gallatin tonight from 5-9 p.m. and tomorrow from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m.