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A good jam today

Posted by bj on Sunday, January 11, 2009

The BG jam in Hellertown wasn't very well attended, since it snowed last night and I'm sure people who live out in the country had a lot of shovelling out to do. But enough people showed for it to be fun.

The first jam circle Dee and I joined was one of the bands warming up for their gig upstairs. We were so outclassed it wasn't funny, but these guys were the soul of graciousness, and very encouraging. And their fiddler was STELLAR. When he took his breaks I just put my bow down and watched. Wowza. Even better, this guy loves fiddle tunes, and it's obvious, even if he wasn't playing OT style here, that he has. A lot. Every now and again I'd hear it. Too bad he's from a pretty far distance away, he's someone I'd love to hear more of. He's been playing fiddle for over 25 years, so he has more than a clue, he's got a whole basket of 'em!

When those guys left to take the stage upstairs, the folks left were a motley bunch of beginners and an odd mismatch of instruments. We had two fiddles (Dee and me), two dobros, and a mando. Not exactly easy to kick off songs, especially since Dee and I are a little light on the tunelist, me even more so since I mostly play crosstuned at home. So when a guy with a guitar case peeked into the room, we grabbed him and dragged him on in. I'm glad we did, since most times when he plays, he plays with a fiddler. He knew a fair few fiddle tunes, so we managed to get through maybe a dozen or so songs with him. And when he left to go catch a band upstairs, the fiddler from earlier came down and played guitar and led us in three or four more tunes, all of them crossover fiddle tunes.

Later, after Dee took off, I moved in the other room and ended up fiddling and singing harmonies to old Hank Williams and Johnny Cash tunes. I'm finding I'm getting the hang of chording on the fiddle, which is making the background bg accompaniment a bit easier, though I'm nowhere near ready to blaze out with any kick butt breaks or anything. But I at least feel like progress has been made.

I wish Jane could have come this time, I think she would have enjoyed this motley mix of people, most of whom seemed to have at least some knowledge and liking of OT styles, even if it wasn't their regular gig.

I'm having the feeling that an OT circle here isn't all that out of the question. I just wish I could get good enough to lead one, or find someone who can.

6 comments on “A good jam today”

Fidla Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @5:39:10 AM

I love Hank Williams tunes. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

FiddleCat Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @8:35:29 AM

Yes it was much quieter then the last time we went. I still had a good time! Sorry I missed the Jonny Cash and Hank Williams music. Was that the Sr. Hank or Jr? I hope it wasn't the Seinor cause I'll be really upset I left when I did. I don't get to hear those songs to often.

We did quite a few songs in OT style if I'm not mistaken. I was nice for something different then what I usually do. Can't wait for next month!!

bj Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @9:03:24 AM

In my mind there is only one Hank Williams. Senior. Those are the songs we did.

We did quite a few crossover OT/BG songs, though they were mostly done BG style. Smoother, and with those dang breaks, except that little bit where I crosstuned. But, as I said, that one fiddler early on was occasionally putting a bit of OT drive into his bow. It wasn't there all the time, but it was there.

FiddleCat Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @10:42:08 AM

It was Senior?.....#@*^ And I had to leave. Go figure. Bummer. Mabey they will do it again next month.

robinja Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @12:46:00 PM

BJ - I think there are two Hank Williams: Senior and III. III is wild, outlandish, edgy, and probably too raw for most tastes, but then, so was his father in his day (so I hear.) Check him out on Pandora.

Glad you had a good jam - you are braver than me, hanging out with the bluegrassers!

bj Says:
Monday, January 12, 2009 @12:57:03 PM

Well, considering how few OT jams there are here, if I want to play with other people I don't have a lot of choice. And, as I've pointed out, at least we play a lot of the crossover fiddle tunes at this jam, even if there are breaks. I have to say, so far with only a couple exceptions, the hundred or so folks I've met at this (huge) jam have been welcoming and encouraging, so it isn't a hardship, even if I do prefer a different sort of jam.

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