Obituaries, July 6, 2023

Mo Foster, a prolific British bassist who played on over 400 albums and singles, died on July 3, at age 78.

Classic Rock reports that "Foster worked with Phil Collins, Jeff Beck and many others in a live and studio career spanning seven decades. Early in his career, Foster co-founded the prog-jazz band Affinity before developing a roster of live appointments that included work with Phil Collins (on his 1982 debut solo tour and that year’s album Hello, I Must Be Going), Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Roger Glover, Michael Schenker, Sting and many others. 

"He recorded with Meat Loaf, Gerry Rafferty, Brian May, Ringo Starr, Peter Green, and more. A regular in TV and movie sessions, Foster was heard on the soundtracks to two James Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy. He also wrote books about music and released a number of solo albums."

Read more here and here.

Rick Froberg, acclaimed post-hardcore frontman and guitarist for Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and more, died on June 30, at age 55. 

The Guardian wrote that "Much like Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo in Sonic Youth, Froberg and John Reis in Drive Like Jehu made guitar music that resembled a smashed mirror being glued back together, its pieces slotting into place along with bloody fingerprints... The feeling behind Froberg's barked refrains helped the group become a foundational influence on the emo boom of the mid-1990s."

Froberg and Reis started out with Pitchfork, then formed Drive Like Jehu. "Their 1991 self-titled album introduced a fearless approach to post-hardcore built on the feeling that everything might collapse in on itself," wrote like The Guardian. A second album, 1994’s Yank Crime, came out on Interscope. Reis' other band, Rocket From the Crypt gained traction, and Drive Like Jehu faded out, aside from a reunion run between 2014 and 2016. Froberg worked as an illustrator.

Froberg reunited with Reis in 1999, making four records as Hot Snakes, and he later fronted Sub Pop-signees Obits. Prior to his death, Froberg confirmed that a new Hot Snakes album was ​​“very near done."

Read more at The Guardian and Pitchfork

Jesse Lester McReynolds, an American bluegrass musician best known for his innovative cross-picking and split-string styles of mandolin playing, died on June 23, at age 93.

He and his brother Jim began performing together around 1947. They recorded 20 songs for Capitol over three sessions in 1952, 1953, and 1955. After Jesse's return from Korea, Jim and Jesse continued to perform and release albums until Jim's death from cancer in 2002. 

From 2002, Jesse McReynolds continued to perform and record as a solo artist. The brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964; Jesse became the oldest standing Opry member in March 2020, following the death of fellow Opry member Jan Howard. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1993 and was awarded National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1997.

Sources: Wikipedia, CBC Radio

Bobby Van Osborne, of the famed bluegrass group The Osborne Brothers, died on June 27, at the age of 91.

He was the co-founder (with his brother Sonny Osborne) of the Osborne Brothers and a member of the Grand Ole Opry and the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Osborne was an instructor of bluegrass music at the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music in Hyden, Kentucky, and his primary instrument was the mandolin. Bobby Osborne helped develop the vocal trio concept in bluegrass music by putting the melody in the tenor voice, instead of putting it in one of the lower voice registers.

The Osborne Brothers' recordings of Rocky Top and Kentucky were named the official state songs of Tennessee and Kentucky, respectively. Osborne's 2017 solo album ORIGINAL was his first album since Bluegrass & Beyond in 2009. The album was the product of Osborne's collaboration with Peter Rowan and featured many bluegrass stars. Osborne also wrote the song, Windy City in 1972, later recorded by Alison Krauss on her LP of that name.

In an interview with CBC Radio, Ketch Secor of bluegrass revival band The Old Crow Medicine Show noted that "both Jesse McReynolds and Bobby were innovators. In reading the obituaries of these men, you know, they were actually rule breakers who kind of were criticised by bluegrass purists. I think Bobby Osborne and his brother Sonny really exemplify this. By all accounts today, we would think of Bobby Osborne as a purist, as a traditionalist. But in the 1960s, when he came out with his brother and he had electric bass and a snare drum and made records in a modern, sophisticated way. He also sang to college kids on college campuses across the country, that was a pretty revolutionary move to take it to the campus from the barn dance."

Sources: CBC RadioRolling Stone, Wikipedia

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