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And out the other side . . .

Posted by bj on Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It was definitely a Jam Jones, this issue I had the last week or so. What fun I had last night!

Despite the bitter cold, and the postponement over the Christmas week, we had a decent turnout. Even better, there were 4 fiddlers, and three are more experienced than me! I love it when David, Corey and Rick show up, I always learn so much more when any one of them are there, having the three of them is HEAVEN. We had a couple new guys show up, both of whom looked familiar from the Hellertown bluegrass jam, one on mando, the other on guitar. Sandy, our banjo, was there, and Craig on guitar.

It was the first time in our new jam digs. Wow. What luxury! Well lit, Clean with a capital C, working bathrooms that don't require you to climb over piles of chairs and art supplies to get to, with toilets that flush every time and no worries about your aim since the light works, sturdy armless padded comfortable chairs that don't wiggle or require folding or stacking, HEAT (a balmy, almost tropical 63-65 degree range!), and a structure that doesn't feel like the ceiling is going to fall on you at any minute. Actually, the church hall just underwent major renovation, and even has a handicap entrance and elevator to the church basement room where we play. And other than the high in the wall windows, it doesn't at all feel like a basement, it's a really light and pleasant space, freshly painted with a new linoleum floor and attractive acoustic tile ceiling. Acoustically it works well enough too, even though the room is much, much bigger than we need (though smaller than our old jamming room.) Because the ceiling isn't super high (probably about 8 feet) the sound doesn't get swallowed up.

We moved our jam time up to 7PM and still played til after 11PM!

But the best thing was that I was playing (mostly) well. Yes, I had some rather spectacular oopses, especially getting warmed up, but once I got in the groove, the mojo was back. And I was picking up new tunes on the fly, at least the skeletal structure of them. Rick and David must have come up with at least 6 or 7 tunes I'd never heard before ever-- Giddyup Napoleon, Briarpicker Brown, Lowrey's Quadrille, a couple few others I didn't jot down, and I could play through them with only minor missing bits, by the end of the tune. But the huge surprise was me playing tunes, at least three or four, that I had heard, but never played before that I can remember, as if I'd been playing them right along. Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine was one of those, there were a couple others. And I had fun on North Carolina Breakdown at a fairly good clip, a tune that used to bedevil me something awful, which is a sign that I AM getting better. Someday I'll be able to play it at the speed Rick would rather kick it off, but doesn't because he knows I can't keep up. We're about 80% there now, which is great. A few months back I could barely keep up at 50%!



3 comments on “And out the other side . . .”

Mandogryl Says:
Thursday, December 31, 2009 @4:05:46 AM

That is all great news, BJ> The new location at the church sounds like a dream. What luck. I bet the acoustics are good, too.
Glad also to hear you coming out of the slump you'd been in. I just knew that would happen as you are too good and experienced.
Sounds like a great jam to attend. Good mix of musicians.

Tennessee Tom Says:
Friday, January 1, 2010 @3:53:40 AM

I love that term, "spectacular oopses." 8D

Happy New year!
Tom

chippyvan Says:
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 @9:58:18 AM

BJ,
The new jam site is indeed very nice, good find!
You are making quick progress and are definitely better every time I hear you. I noticed some nice bowing patterns going on too. (forgot which tunes). and your tune repertoire is also growing amazingly quick. I think that most setbacks in our playing are with respect to our expectations and not externally significant..

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