Lately, there have been a lot of times that Jesse Morrell has hung out in my mind. Jesse was my favorite rhythm guitar player. Jesse lived in Casper, Wyoming, and was a steady presence at Wyoming fiddle contests.
I first met Jesse when I was about 14. Jesse immediately befriended me as if he was my surrogate grandpa. He was a sweet old man who loved playing music.
And, MAN could Jesse play the guitar. Jesse kept time better than just about anybody I have ever played with. He would open up a groove for me to play in that was a mile wide. Playing with Jesse gave me an extra boost of energy in my playing, another layer of fun on top of the joy that I normally feel playing music.
If Jesse was at a contest, I always had him back me up. He would have me back him up when he entered the fiddle contest too. He loved playing the Spanish Two-Step, and La Golondrina.
When I moved off to Indiana for College, playing music with Jesse was one of the things I missed the most (along with blue skies, mountains, and low humidity).
These videos are all from the last weekend I got to play music with Jesse. It was about 4 months before he passed away, at the Rocky Mountain Regional Fiddle Championships in Casper, WY (August 2012.)
Jesse and I jammed until about 10:30 Saturday night until he was tuckered out. Then he asked me if I was going to be around in the morning. I told him that was leaving in the morning by that if he came by in the morning before I left that I would love to play a few more tunes with him. (I then continued jamming until the wee hours of the morning.)
The next morning, I awoke to knocking on my hotel room door. It was Jesse ready to play some more tunes before I headed back to Colorado. I was feeling pretty rough after that long night of jamming, but I was so glad to play a few more tunes with Jesse before heading down the Highway.