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Date(s) - Fri. Dec. 14, 2018
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Open to musicians and singers, this is a take on the bluegrass jam (with songs that allow everyone to join in and play instrumental solos) but includes earlier genres of American roots music such as old-time, Appalachian tunes, gospel, proto-blues, early jazz, etc. The aim is to work on musicianship while exploring these great musical traditions together, and to enjoy sharing and learning from each other in an atmosphere that’s casual enough to make mistakes and wing it a little, but with enough structure and parameters to keep the jam focused and flowing smoothly. 

General rules of thumb:

– The focus of this jam is American songs/genres from before 1950ish (there’s a lot out there!) Some artists you might want to check out for inspiration: Doc Watson, Leadbelly, Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Bessie Smith, Bill Monroe, Stanley Brothers, New Lost City Ramblers, Mississippi John Hurt… (not so much Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, country or blues – they’re wonderful but that’s not what the aim of this jam is).

– Choose songs that have a relatively simple chord structure that you can teach/lead the group with.

– Please bring printouts for songs that are not well known or are more complicated, or be ready to teach verbally so everyone can join in.

– Choose songs that can allow the group to get involved: eg repeating choruses, breaks for instruments to solo.

– Please bring: guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bass, ukulele, harmonica, accordion, washboard, spoons, bones, vocal harmonies, piano (well, there is one there)… and ideally some level of musical proficiency and knowledge of basic chord progressions.

– If you do not play an instrument but want to sing, please prepare songs you want to lead, and/or feel free to join in on choruses and harmonies.

– If you are interested but have no idea where to start, here are some simple songs to learn: Good Night Irene, I’ll Fly Away, In the Pines, Midnight Special, The Storms Are On The Ocean, Bury Me Beneath the Willow Tree, Hard Times Come Again No More, O Mary Don’t You Weep, Lazy John, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor. A little more complicated: Deep River Blues, Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down, Sunny Side of the Street, Miss Molly, Hesitation Blues, Your Baby Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, St. James Infirmary.