Jerry Krahn, acoustic guitar instrumentalist, brings a rich personal and diverse musical history to the stage. His “ear-catching” guitar styling, passionate melodies and lyrical improvising intrigue and entertain a wide cross section of listeners around the country and the world; expressing raw emotion without gadgets or wires but with a penchant for reaching out with accessible, tasteful acoustic music.
Born in 1953, the Wisconsin native enjoyed the ethnic and robust sounds of polka music. This deeply rooted style tugged at his heart more than milk and cheese from the dairy barn. At ten the road quickly led to becoming a fixture on that scene, eventually working with greats Verne Meisner and Frankie Yankovich. His music would soon fuse country and pop as well as traditional and mainstream jazz.
As his listening skills and musical styles broadened, Jerry found inspiration and knowledge in Milwaukee jazz legend guitarist Don Momblow, and later contemporary jazz artist Jack Grassel. The road to becoming a journeyman musician included studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and concentrated lessons in a variety of styles. These pursuits led to stints in 1970s show bands, USO tours, and country and pop bands, one of which was Capitol/ABC Nashville recording artist Duane Dee. The early 1980s found Jerry doing musical promotions for Emmber Brands Deli Meat, Milwaukee; selling the musical “sizzle” at meetings and trade shows across the East and Midwest. Later Jerry was a founding member, electric-synth guitarist and front man to the very popular and successful Four Wheel Drive band, performing Top 40 Country and Classic Rock at every major fair, festival and club in Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. At that time Jerry released his self-produced album Take Your Pick.
A 1990 move to Nashville led Jerry to the Opryland Theme Park where he honed his Dixieland and Trad skills on the plectrum banjo and archtop guitar. That exposure to jazz players in Music City transpired into a hookup with the Titan Hot Seven jazz band. That “hot jazz” band performs at jazz festivals throughout the country and around the world. It also includes working with “world class” players like Joe Aschione, Niki Parrott, Anat Cohen and John Cocuzzi. Jerry’s skill and knowledge of early jazz guitar masters, art of rhythm playing and solos in the archtop jazz guitar style is featured. Those skills keep him in demand in Nashville as a studio session player and soloist, with his own quartet and western swing bands The Time Jumpers and The Nashville Swingers.
Jerry and Pam reside in Hermitage, Tennessee, twenty miles east of “Music Row” in downtown Nashville. Jerry’s son Robert is band director at West Orange High School in Orlando. Daughter Whitney is pursuing her Ph.D. at NYU in French Studies. Mother LaVerne Krahn still lives on the same Wisconsin farm and his sisters Joyce and Gloria live just a stones throw away from the homestead.
Other interests include buying and selling vintage musical, hi-fi and stereo gear, along with an occasional antique collectible. For a number of years Jerry utilized his eye for detail and hand skills in the graphic arts trade as a printing pre-press four-color stripper and quality control specialist, while still pursuing his musical career. Jerry now enjoys that pursuit on a successful full-time basis.
All along this path, Jerry’s love for multiple musical styles and guitarists keeps growing and infusing itself into the soul of what you will hear. Jerry produced two solo recordings Garden in the Rain and No Wires Attached. Group recordings, Midwest Dreams and Tell Me I’m Crazy have captured that passion with timeless melodies and heartfelt arrangements of jazz/pop standards, original compositions and folk derived jazz-laced tunes. We encourage you to explore the aural and relaxed presence of these vintage guitars in the hands of Jerry Krahn.