The last few weeks for award-winning bluegrass band Dailey & Vincent have been bittersweet.
On April 2, the band announced in a lengthy Facebook post that their banjo player for the past six years, Jessie Baker, would be stepping away from the band.
“For the past 6 years Jessie Baker has been a blessing to us, our music and our fans. We are heart broken over the news he had to share with us recently. Here’s a message from Jessie himself. Please join us in prayer for our brother,” the band wrote.
Baker continued the rest of the post himself, saying that after meeting with a neurologist, they discovered that “due to my 10 plus years of playing banjo on the road I had developed carpal tunnel which has blocked nerve conduction primarily in my thumb, index, and middle fingers,” he wrote.
The doctor told him that even after carpal tunnel release surgery, he would likely re-develop the same issue. He was told that if he kept playing at the rate he was going, he would have little to no strength or control over his right hand, and wouldn’t even be able to open a bottle of water.
He was told that in time, he could play guitar and even mandolin “without negatively impacting” his condition, but being a professional banjo player was not something he could do anymore. Baker played a few more shows with Dailey & Vincent, and his final night with the band was on Saturday (April 21).
Along with posting the video, Dailey & Vincent wrote a few words to accompany it.
“With a heavy heart, last night we said goodbye to our friend and band member Jessie Baker,” they wrote. “After 6 years he is forced to quit music due to nerve damage to his right hand, we have helped Jessie through dear friends get to some of the most talented and gifted hand and nerve surgeons on the planet and look forward to seeing what they can do to restore one of the best players. Our prayers go out to you, and you will never know the impact and joy you have not just given us, but to thousands across the world. We love you and farewell friend.”
After saying a few words to the audience, Baker energetically led the band in his swan song, a fast-paced bluegrass tune that you can’t help but tap your toe to.
Watch Baker’s emotional onstage goodbye in the video below.