FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Mandolin Picker Jethro Burns born March 10, 1920!

 Jethro Burns of Homer & Jethro one helluva good mandolin picker!!


On this day in March 10th in 1920 “Jethro”Burns was born in north Georgia. When he was young his family moved to,Tennessee Since Jethro passed away in 1989, many of you young whippersnappers may not know of him, but Jethro was a fantastic mandolin player and one-half of the country musical comedy team of Homer & Jethro. Homer’s real name was Henry D Haynes and they started performing together in 1936! From Wikipedia:

Burns was a highly-influential mandolin stylist, preferring clean single-note jazzy melodies and sophisticated chords over the dominant bluegrass stylings of Bill Monroe, and since he performed mostly in a country music setting, introduced many country mandolinists to sophisticated jazz harmonies and improvisational techniques, as well as standards from the songbooks of Duke EllingtonDjango Reinhardt and Cole Porter. Read More

In his later years he taught a master’s class in mandolin jazz.

While I saw Jethro in the 60s an 70s on shows like the Johnny Cash Show an Hee Haw, I am most familiar with his mandolin playing from the years he spent with playing and touring with Steve Goodman. Both Jethro’s sense of humor and great mandolin picking blended perfectly with Steve and his music! Steve one said this about Jethro:

“I never heard him play or say anything that wasn’t the very thing that everyone else in the room wished they had played or said.” How did he do it? His special skill was to mix equal parts mischief and genius. (While keeping his tongue firmly in cheek at all times!). A large part of his appeal can be summed up in his philosophy of “No matter where you go, there you are!”

Here’s a very good profile of Jethro from You can also check out some of their new music while you’re there!

So let’s start our week with a great song from Homer & Jethro. And say Happy Birthday to Jethro Burns and hope that he and Homer are making somebody laugh somewhere today!!