John Jennings, Musician and Producer, Dead at 61
John Jennings, a musician and producer well known for his work with 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.
Born in Virginia on Nov. 22, 1953, and raised in New Mexico and Washington, D.C., John Edward Jennings began his musical career playing the piano and trumpet, but he later switched over to guitar.
"He could play anything,” 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. Jennings co-produced, among others, Carpenter's Columbia Records debut album, 1987's Hometown Girl, and 1990's Shooting Straight in the Dark, the latter of which became Carpenter's first platinum album.
“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.”
“While 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 the 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.”
Jennings leaves behind his companion of 17 years, Tamara Meyer, and a brother. He had lived in Potomac, Md., since 1998.
Country Stars Who Stand Up Against Cancer