Sunday, December 13, 2015

what's your jam?

the power couple

Not a single day goes by without some sort of music, whether it's coming from my own hands or filtered through my music box (otherwise known as an ipod because I still haven't put music on my phone). Supposably*, there are people out there who just don't care for music, much like there are people who don't like chocolate (sorry friend I know who doesn't like chocolate - if you ever get around to reading this you will find out that I still think you're a weirdo). I'm not sure what I would do without either, but especially music because I use it in so many ways. There's wallowing, cheering up, slowing down, speeding up, connecting with others, getting away from others, concentrating, distraction, feeling creative, and stepping outside the uptight box I live in, which can sometimes creep back into the making of music and really ruin what should be a good time.

In old-time music, musicians gather in what are called "jams," which result in music that is of the moment. There is no sheet music and there's no one way to play a song. There are agreed upon melodies and basic structures/conventions to be followed, otherwise it would be chaos, but for the most part, it is a collective creation that comes out of whoever is in the jam at any given moment. It's incredible, and I had no idea it existed before attending the Swannanoa Gathering, an old time music camp near Asheville, NC. It's also my personal kryptonite because everyone has a role and unless the jam is large, it is hard to hide. My ear isn't sophisticated enough to pick up a tune I don't know right away, whether it's the melody or the chord changes, and there will always be tunes I don't know. I'm working on it, although I'm still too chicken to work on it with other people. For now, I'll leave you with some old-time pictures and a few haikus (2 old-time specific and 1 universal):

fiddle bows, tapping
toes, banjos running away,
searching for the groove.


circle round, sit tight
banjo on the left, guitar
to the right. now jam.


whatever you want
to feel, you just have to choose
the tune for the mood

looking for the groove
example of a small jam, taken at Clifftop, a music festival in West Virginia, July 2015, film, Canon Tlb

another jam circle in the background, taken at Swannanoa, July 2014, film, Canon Tlb 

the buck stops here
a friend's cd release party at Clifftop, West Virginia, July 2015, film, Canon Tlb 

*supposably = not a typo. inside joke for whoever gets it!

top picture: two Australian friends I met at Swannanoa playing tunes on the steps of Warren Wilson College, July 2015, film, Canon Tlb 

1 comment:

Steve Reed said...

Supposably -- LOL!

I have a friend who lives in Asheville and she's always talking about "old-timey music." I guess it's quite a thing there, as you've seen! Great photos.