The Good Old Thursday Night Jam

Red Henry

I went over to the local jam last night. Why do I go to that jam? I've said it before in these pages: PRACTICE. But on some Thursdays the practice is easier than on others.

Now, when you get into real life jams, some of them aren't as easy to play along with as (for example) on our Slow Jam or Picking Up the Pace DVDs. Sometimes, you have to work. And at first, I thought this would be one of THOSE THURSDAYS. We kicked off the jam a bit after 7:00, when five guitar players, two fiddlers, a banjo picker, and one mandopicker (me) had arrived and tuned up.

At first, it was heavy slogging. Few of the pickers besides myself wanted to take the lead in playing or singing songs, although Murphy's banjo student Zac was an exception and played a creditable version of 'Cripple Creek'. I sang a couple of songs, and it looked like it'd be a long night.

But at that point, help started arriving. Jam hosts (and excellent pickers) Linda and David brought in their bass and guitar, and joined the jam. Guitar picker and singer Gerald came in and added his talents to the mix. Fiddlers Wayne and Stormie arrived and got out their fiddles. Suddenly we really had a jam.

Right away, David and Linda wanted to sing 'Your Selfish Heart'. That's an old Stanley Brothers number that we get a good high trio on, and we always have fun singing it. Then Linda, who has one of the finest voices I've ever heard, sang 'I'll Go Stepping Too'. Things went on from there, and it was all very satisfactory.

With all that talent coming into the jam, we couldn't miss. All the songs and tunes sounded good. It was fun.

Good practice, too.


Posted in By Red, Improvising, jamming, Practice and tagged , on by .

About Red Henry

Began playing mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and banjo in 1967-69. I married Murphy in 1974. We led the Red & Murphy bluegrass band, playing professionally, from 1975-87. Since then I've handled the technical side of Murphy Method cassette, videotape, and DVD production. When you call I usually answer the phone, and I'm normally the one who sends out the orders.