Shake Up in The .357 String Band

.357 String BandYesterday, the .357 String Band announced that founding member and mandolin player Jayke Orvis would be leaving the band. Here is an excerpt from their MySpace blog announcing the decision:

“Due to differences in opinion on both the creative as well as business aspects of the band, Jayke Orvis is no longer a member of The .357 String Band. Rick, Joe and I have discussed and agreed that we will be moving on together with a new member, and have secured the services of Billy Cook, from Austin TX. Jayke is a stellar musician, we appreciate his contribution over the last 5 years of touring and recording, and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

“Billy Cook is currently a member of Corinne Rose, as well as a touring musician with Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies. It was in this capacity that we met him on tour in Sturgis in 2007. He has been playing guitar for 25 years, dobro and mandolin for 6 or 7, as well as a little clawhammer banjo just to round things out…We are looking forward to working with Billy in preparation for our fall touring schedule, and are excited to hear the different nuances and colors he can bring to The .357 String Band sound. “

“In addition, Joe and I (Derek) have been writing steadily for the next record, are working on some demos now, and we should be ready to get in the studio by late 2009, hopeful of a Spring 2010 release.

Later Jayke put out a statement of his own:

“for the record, the discussion of dropping me like a groupie was done behind close doors and absolutely behind my back. the conversation was 2 minutes long, and one minute of that was me thinking they were joking.The 3 of them and I have been just that, 3 of them and i for the last year.
I dont think i need to convince anyone that i had more than a little to do with us even being a band, much less getting our songs to the folks who are holding our cd or their ipod as i write this.”

“i put in countless hours behind a library computer building contacts and relationships and friendships. I ended an 8 year relationship with my ex wife and SON to follow my dream of playing with the best damn band and best group of people i believed in, spent countless nights in hotel rooms on the phone with my father, son, ex wife, ex girlfriends, and close friends telling me that im not crazy for following my heart….only to be dropped by the wayside in a 2 minute conversation. personality wise, we were closer than kin in the first 3 1/2 to 4 years. we could work out anything. And did. Til apparently we couldnt.”

“THEY decided that YOU didnt want to see our hear me anymore. Now, i need to say that my replacement is great. Billy Cook is the balls!! i love him as a person, and still wear a shirt he had made of his gramma when i go to bed. great guy, no sarcasm. but yer reading this cuz ya wanna know my side of getting kicked out of the .357 string band (or your bored and just found out). n a nutshell, yes im hurt. Deeply hurt.

Hey Rick, you were a great friend who brought my boy a switchblade comb on his birthday and i wont forget that. I meant it when i said you were one of the funniest guys i knew.
Ya still have a few parts in my garage. should prolly get those now right?

“Hey Joe, man…. You were a young kid when i met ya. You have more talent in your little finger than anyone i ever met. It was a pleasure to pick with you. haha, im glad ya listened when i told ya to play that banjo. I wont forget the hours we spent in my basement workin out music and picking. It was great. You challenged me, always will holmes. i love ya. No hard feelings from me.

“Hey Derek i loved you like a brother for years. i had to learn how to expand my vocabulary just to keep up with yer quick wit. You quoted Family Guy (still will) so much that i cant even watch it without knowing what Stewie”s gonna say next. You stuck up for me a few times. wish you knew how many times i stuck up for you too.”

“words i mean”


Even after reading Jayke’s statement, I do not blame the other members for doing what they did. It must have not been an easy decision for them, but they are just trying to do what they think is best for the band. I also think that Jayke showed a tremendous amount of character in his response. He clearly had a different side of the story, but did not descend into name calling or going scorched earth, but named each member out to compliment them. Stand up guy if you ask me.

These guys have spent huge chunks of their lives together, living, working, touring, writing, and recording, and none of us can appreciate the bonds and memories that have forged together, and how hard this must be for all involved.

When I saw the .357 String Band in April and recorded THIS INTERVIEW, Jayke seemed aloof a lot of the time. When I engaged him he was polite, but in the past Jayke was one of the main spokesmen for the band. I didn’t know why this was, and didn’t ask, but it didn’t reflect one bit on stage. Jayke was as on it as ever.

Jayke’s replacement, Billy Cook, is an astounding picker, and no stranger to the REAL country movement. I saw him play with Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies a while back, and was very impressed. He also plays with Corrine Rose. Check him out on guitar:

I had never heard of Corrine Rose before, but I’m digging the sound. It is unclear exactly what instrument Billy will be playing, or he might be playing numerous ones.

I truly hope the .357 String Band does not skip a beat, and my feeling is they won’t. They are superlative musicians, and a great bunch of guys. I also hope Jayke finds his right path. I can think of a few bands off the top of my head I could see him ending up with. My hope is that he continues to play, and does not fade out of the scene altogether.