Flat Pick Guitarist-Jerry Rose

The "young" Jerry in 1962

The “young” Jerry in 1962

Jerry Rose and Leslie Tift will be playing at the Dunsmuir Brewery Works, Dunsmuir, Ca on March 15th. Here is Jerry’s music bio.

It all began in the summer of 1961.  I was twelve years old living in a fairly isolated area of south east bay area in the foothills of Hayward, CA.  My father enjoyed watching the country western TV shows; my mom listened to country music on the radio.  I was always drawn to the guitar and when I expressed an interest in learning to play, my mother gave me her old black no name guitar.  I quickly learned how to play Home on the Range on one string and instinctively knew I was destined for greatness.  My Mom bought me a Chet Atkins phonograph record for my 13th birthday.  I favored the flatpick but also learned to use a thumb pick.  I eventually found my heroes in Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, Joe Maphis, and Neil Lavang. 

My father played several instruments, guitar, banjo, and mandolin.  He and a friend began a Friday night kitchen-picking gathering that would last for several years.  They each had their hand written music books with lyrics and chords for songs from the ragtime and early country eras.  Both of them played banjos and sang while I played rhythm guitar.  Our next door neighbor, Joe Corrie, would show up with his guitar and was a wealth of information about bluegrass rhythm.  As I entered my teen years I began to lean toward more contemporary music and found the Ventures.  I played in several teen garage bands and learned the dynamics of “band psychology.”  After graduating high school, life stepped in and I found guitar drifting in and out of a life that was busy with new responsibilities. 

Jerry in his "Garage Band"
Jerry in his “Garage Band”

 In 1988 while watching the Mount Shasta Fourth of July parade, I saw a flatbed truck go by with a load of young fiddle players at the direction of Evelyn Horner.  I instantly felt a connection with the happy, light feeling from their lively fiddle tunes.  I began meeting with Evelyn and she taught me literally hundreds of fiddle tunes.  When she formed a group called the High Mountain String Band, she invited me to play guitar.  Along with Evelyn, I met Sam Cuenca (excellent bass and mandolin player), Linda Powers (bass, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, singer-songwriter), and Gary Powers (rhythm guitar).  We played together for many years.  It was also at this time that Evelyn introduced me to the Western Open Fiddle Contest and specifically the guitar picking contest aspect.  I would go on to win the Western Open picking contest six times and the California State Fiddle picking contest five times as well as the Weaverville Open Fiddle Contest picking division five times.  In 2013 I won the California State Picking Championship, placed second in the Cloverdale Adult Picking Contest, won the Weaverville Open Picking Contest and won the Western Open Picking Contest. 

Jerry Rose-picking competition
Jerry Rose-picking competition

I have retired from the post office and now teach bluegrass guitar as a hobby and play on occasion with a close friend, John Renfro, from Oregon.  We collaborated on a CD in the summer of 2008 titled “All Worn Out” (now out of print).  We didn’t quite go platinum…..as a matter of fact John tells people that it went “aluminum.”     

~ by tomandleslie on March 10, 2014.

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