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Jesse McReynolds Guests on Virginia Museum of Radio Entertainment

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Jesse McReynoldsOn Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 6:30 PM the Virginia Museum of Radio Entertainment is pleased to present Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) at Pocahontas State Park, 10301 State Park Rd, Chesterfield, VA. Bluegrass music legend Jesse McReynolds will make a special guest appearance with DSO, performing several songs from his "Songs of the Grateful Dead" CD, released in 2010. Pocahontas State Park is just a few miles southeast of Richmond, and is easily accessible from Highway 360 or Interstate 95. Tickets are $16.50 advance/$20.00 at the door, available through or, for more information, visit:

For eleven years Dark Star Orchestra has presented its critically acclaimed live show at esteemed venues all over the world. Dark Star Orchestra's concerts are built off the extensive catalog of the Grateful Dead. On any given night the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Dead's 30 years of extensive touring, or use the Dead's catalog of songs to create a unique set list for that show. Grateful Dead classics are performed in the same way that an orchestra interprets music of classical composers. Precision is king with DSO; the band members adapt their stage positioning, vocal arrangements, specific musical equipment and instruments to fit the era of the show they are performing. Following each performance the band announces the date and venue of the original Grateful Dead performance.

The band's determined commitment to "raising the Dead" has drawn national media attention. Rolling Stone praised their "fanatical attention to detail." The Washington Post called them "...the hottest Grateful Dead tribute act. A cover band for people who don't like cover bands." Critics aren't the only ones singing Dark Star Orchestra's praises. Five original members of the Grateful Dead have played alongside DSO. Vocalist Donna Jean Godchaux-McKay, a frequent guest, says, "Playing with Dark Star Orchestra feels just exactly like it felt when I was playing with the Grateful Dead!"

Bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds began his career in the late 1940s, alongside his brother Jim. Jim & Jesse made their first recordings in 1952, and became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. They were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and received a National Heritage Award at the White House in 1997. Though Jim passed away in 2002, Jesse has continued to perform, and this year he celebrates 65 years in music. He has always been known as an innovator, having created his own unique and intricate style of mandolin playing now referred to as "the McReynolds style."

Jim & Jesse frequently pushed the boundaries of bluegrass and country music by incorporating material from other genres into their repertoire. Now Jesse has gone a step further, by recording an entire album of Grateful Dead covers, with a group of musical friends including David Nelson and Stu Allen! "Songs of the Grateful Dead" was released in 2010, and in November of that year Jesse made a surprise guest appearance with Dark Star Orchestra at a concert in Nashville. Over the last two years he has performed at numerous Jerry Garcia tributes, alongside such artists as David Nelson and New Riders of the Purple Sage. The May 17 concert at Pocahontas State Park will be Jesse's second guest appearance with Dark Star Orchestra, and is sure to be a special event, for the musicians as well as the audience!

The Virginia Museum of Radio Entertainment (VMRE) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Crewe, Virginia. The mission of the VMRE is to archive, sustain, and perpetuate roots-based American music, and to enhance public awareness of central Virginia's rich musical heritage. In addition, the VMRE partners with school systems in several counties, presenting special programs to educate students about music business. Since its formation in 2010, the VMRE has hosted concerts with some of the top names in acoustic music, including Riders in the Sky, Sierra Hull, Curly Seckler with The Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Quebe Sisters. This year the VMRE has expanded its concert series to include several new and bigger venues! Visit: to see a list of venues and upcoming events.

The Virginia Museum of Radio Entertainment welcomes donations, which are tax deductible, and may be made on our web site or sent to: VMRE, PO Box 607, Crewe, VA 23930. For more information about the VMRE or for concert information, call: 434-645-7734.
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