I never personally knew Jack Rose (although several of my friends did), but I always dug his playing. It brings me back to my fondness for John Fahey and Robbie Basho. I used to listen to his noisy group Pelt back in the '90s as well. It was still a shock to hear of his passing in 2009 at just 38. There have been many tributes to him, rightfully so, and on his date of birth we'll share a few videos here too.
His music mostly pulled from country blues, ragtime and Indian ragas. "A lot of people, when they view old-time music, they view it as gentle or nostalgic, which I don't get at all," Rose said. "It was totally bizarre-sounding to me, and messed-up."
Self-taught and constantly working to perfect his sound, he played six-string, 12-string and lap steel, often with open tunings. He was definitely Fahey-influenced, a "Takoma-revivalist", if you will. He grew up in Virginia, listening to Mississippi John Hurt and Bukka White records. He played in dronesters Pelt before moving to Philly and switching to all acoustic. He released his first solo albums (on CD-R) in 2001. Aside from Pelt, he also collaborated with Glenn Jones, Jason Bill, Donald Miller and a few others.
Having just bought a house, he died before his Luck In The Valley came. His final album, it was the final piece of his "Ditch Trilogy".
Here's Jack playing live at Ecstatic Yod in Western Massachusetts in 2007:
And here's a magical set at Brickbat Books in Philly, a few months before his passing:
From his 2005 album Kensington Blues: