Jennings .....Photo: Jim Saah
Jennings, a musician and producer well known for his work with John
Gorka and Mary Chapin Carpenter, has died.
Jennings, who was 61, died at a Maryland hospice center on Saturday
(Oct.17), after a battle with kidney cancer. He had been diagnosed
in early 2014.
in Luray, Virginia, and raised in New Mexico and Washington, D.C.,
Jennings was steeped in music of all sorts. Initially a student
of trumpet and piano, he switched to guitar under the influence
of the Beatles. Among the early D.C. bands he played in were Bill
Holland & Rent's Due and Big Yankee Dollar. John Jennings was also
an early member of Pentagram.
could play anything," Mary Chapin Carpenter tells the Washington
Post, "and his knowledge, talent and supreme great taste informed
everything he did." Jennings played in a few D.C.-area bands before
hooking up with Carpenter in 1982. They briefly dated, but it was
their creative relationship that proved the most fortuitous.
"He had a studio in his basement, and I'd
start going over there on the weekends and diddling around," Carpenter
told the New York Times in the early '90s. "That's the way John
is. John is like, 'Let's do it.' He doesn't see hurdles. I see hurdles."
Jennings produced three CD's of John Gorka The first one he produced
of the Valley' (1994) with classic songs like "Flying Red
Horse" and "That's Why" , Two years later he did the production
5 and 7' (1996) and the third CD John Jennings produced
Yesterday' (1998). John Jennings also played percussion,
acoustic & electric guitars, keyboards, acoustic bass, drums on
this great CD with songs like "Cypress Trees" and Zuly.
Jennings played acoustic guitar, and bass on John Gorka's 2001 CD
Company You Keep'.
In addition to his production work with Carpenter, Jennings also
produced albums for Janis Ian, Robin & Linda Williams, Bill Morrisey
and BeauSoleil - as well as six of his own albums.
I want to be successful, it's not something I'm going to go out
of my way for. I don't really see it for me," the artist told
Washington Post in 1997. "Had it not been for Chapin, my life would
be very different. I'd like to think that, had it not been for me,
hers would have been very different, too."