Sad News: RIP Jack Rose

December 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments · By

Just heard a sad piece of news from John Ruscher: apparently Jack Rose has passed away.

Jack Rose was a contemporary guitarist, originally a member of the Blacksburg-based drone-folk band Pelt, who in recent years earned a well-deserved reputation as a masterfully talented gutarist, often cited as this generation’s John Fahey. {His records are all great, but in particular I recommend the stunningly excellent “Kensington Blues” album on VHF.}

I had the pleasure of meeting and hearing Jack play once, in March of 2007, at a puzzlingly ill-attended show at the Tea Bazaar. He was mellow and modest when he arrived; I helped him set up a single mic, he pulled his acoustic guitar from its case, and the five or six of us present watched this in awe as this sweaty, bear-like individual coaxed sounds of immense subtlety and precise beauty from that guitar for about an hour. I myself am untalented enough to be impressed by even the most passable fingerpicking, but staring in awe at Jack Rose’s hands and the gorgeous crescendo of sounds issuing forth made it clear that we were witnessing a master musician at work.

We chatted a little afterwards; he seemed mildly prickly and precise, yet generous and straightforward. I’m roughly acquainted with the other members of Pelt (still active as Black Twig, Spiral Joy Band, etc); the first thing I thought upon meeting Jack was that their temperments are so different (although I have only kind words about all of them) that it’s not hard to infer why Jack struck out on his own; also I think it was a case of Jack being so wildly and singularly talented that it was almost necessary for him to be a solo artist (although he frequently collaborated with dozens of individuals, including his former bandmates.)

Jack Rose was so largely excellent and prolifically brilliant that I had always imagined he would continue to follow that path and blaze new trails for a long time to come.  I’m saddened by the news of his premature departure, and we send our warmest wishes to his family and friends.

The Arther link above has some excellent videos embedded, as well as some kind comments from his friends and fellow musicians.

Tags: news

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Dec 7, 2009 at 3:27 am

    doing a Jack Rose tribute right now on WTJU, if anybody is awake and wants to tune in.

  • 2 John // Dec 7, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Listening right now. Thanks James. RIP Jack.

  • 3 heatshock // Dec 8, 2009 at 10:45 am

    what a loss. his show at the UVa chapel was stunning, probably the best place to witness his incredible talent. we had a rambling conversation afterward, talking about our favorite haunts in houston (I guess he’d spent some time there), then I bought a Pelt album from him and we went our own ways. he was intense and spaced-out, yet friendly and kind. thanks for the music, Jack.

  • 4 Davis // Dec 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Man, heavy. Only posting here cause of the Virginia roots of Pelt and, thus, Jack. Really sad news, as assuredly this guy had some monster records left in him. If anyone ever thought that Grand Banks was a worthwhile proposition and has not heard Pelt, please go out and find a way to listen to some. Truly great stuff, ahead of the curve in the drone/noise sweepstakes for sure, but their final acoustic phase beats it all. Look up the two final records, I believe both on VHF (?). Then of course listen to all of the Jack Rose solo albums, just beautiful and timeless and powerful. Just keep listening.