Jerry Krahn, acoustic guitar instrumentalist, brings a rich personal and musical background to the stage. His varied musical guitar styling, lyrical melodies and thoughtful improvising intrigue and entertain listeners around the country and the world.
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 the milk and hay
from the dairy barn. At ten years of age the musical road quickly led to becoming a fixture on that scene, eventually working with greats Verne Meisner and Frankie Yankovich.
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 70s show bands, USO tours, and country and pop bands, one of which was Capitol/ABC Nashville recording artist Duane Dee. The early 80s found Jerry doing musical promotions for Emmber Brands Deli Meat, Milwaukee. The “Lean and Tender” duo musically sold the “sizzle” at meetings, shows and grand openings 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, garnering very fine reviews.
A move to Nashville in 1990 led Jerry to the Opryland Theme Park where he honed his Dixieland and Trad skills on the plectrum banjo and archtop guitar. His association with the many fine 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. Jerry’s skill and knowledge of early jazz guitar masters, art of rhythm playing and solos in the archtop jazz guitar style is featured. It’s the same skills that keep him in demand in Nashville as a studio session player, soloist, with his own quartet and various jazz and Western Swing ensembles. Among them The Time Jumpers, Carolyn Martin Swing Band, The Western Swingers and the Nashville Sunday Jazz Band.
Jerry and Pam reside in Hermitage, Tennessee, approximately twenty miles east of “Music Row” in downtown Nashville. Jerry’s son Robert is assistant band director at West Orange High School in Orlando. Daughter Whitney attends graduate school at NYU; French studies. Sisters Joyce and Gloria and their families live just a stones throw away from the Mayville, Wisconsin 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 hear from his guitars. Jerry produced three solo acoustic archtop recordings Garden in the Rain, No Wires Attached and Together Again, along with four group recordings, Midwest Dreams, Where Are You My Love, Jerry Krahn and Tell Me I’m Crazy have captured that passion with timeless melodies and heartfelt arrangements of Jazz/pop standards, folk and original compositions. We encourage you to explore that aural and visual grace of these guitars in the hands of Jerry Krahn.
Photo: Laura Wuest