John Christopher “Chris” Ethridge II, a Mississippi-born musician, bassist and songwriter who was a founding member of country-rock band the Flying Burrito Brothers, died Monday in Meridian, Miss. He was 65 and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September.
Ethridge spent eight years on the road with Willie Nelson and can be heard on the country legend’s “Whiskey River.”
Nelson wrote in a tweet Monday, “(Willie Nelson and Friends) are sad to hear of the passing of Family member & friend Chris Ethridge. He was a talented musician & we were honored to call him Family.”
With Joel Scott Hill and John Barbata, Ethridge recorded “L.A. Getaway,” which many rock critics hail as one of the great, lost 1970s rock albums.
Ethridge collaborated with Gram Parsons on several projects including the Flying Burrito Brothers and the International Submarine Band, and he co-wrote several of the songwriter’s solo tunes.
In later years, Ethridge played with music luminaries including Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Ry Cooder, both as a session musician and touring player.
Ethridge was born in 1947 and raised in Meridian and moved when he was 17 to Los Angeles.
Survivors include his wife, Karen Sue; a daughter and two sons; eight grandchildren; his mother; and two brothers.