July 22 -26 2015
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This review is going to evolve over a period of time as music gets uploaded.
This is at least my second year at Jerry Jam, and perhaps my wife’s third time vending. We had a great time in year’s past, and we were really looking forward to this year. Coming straight on the heels of Gratefulfest last weekend in Ohio, it was a Herculean effort for us to drive back to New England, get the vending and personal gear in order, and head out again for what is a lengthy and epic weekend festival. You see, Jerry Jam starts on THU and goes all the way to Sunday, but we were heading out for the pre-party on WED night, and Angel was going even earlier to set up her vending booth. Five days of festival? This is not for the weak kneed.
So I grabbed my two girls (the boy went with Mama earlier in the day to help with set up) and we drove up to Bath NH, through the beauty of Vermont on an amazing evening for viewing nature and the waning day. We arrived to see that the stage from last year was essentially picked up and moved across the street to Jerry Jam’s new location. It’s a conjoined stage allowing for one band to set up while the other performs. On this pre-night however, only one side was operating and after a cool open mic jam of crew and faithful, the Sly Dogs took the stage.
They were super cool, doing a outlaw biker southern rock thing- including songs you’d expect and others you would not. They were a full band with guitars, keys, bass and a great lady drummer (these days is it appropriate to even say that? She was just a great drummer) and several of the players singing lead and or harmony. The highlight for me is always a song that you would not hear another band play, and with the Sly Dogs it was Blue on Black by the Stone Roses. I always liked that song and I have never seen anyone else do it. Kudos Sly Dogs, kudos. They also did other stuff including classic southern rock and blues, and other surprises like a Talking Heads song or two.
At about 10 PM it was our turn to take the stage, and it was the first time that rice – An American Band got to perform at Jerry Jam. It was super fun, and I could not have had a better time. I will just leave it at that for now, as the weekend was packed and had lots of bands performing, so I don’t wanna dwell.
rice – An American Band Jerry Jam 2015 audio
Sadly, I had to jet early THU morning to go back and work THU and FRI, to return FRI evening. I hope to fill you in on some of the details THU and FRI from another reviewer who is contributing.
The Peacheaters came in from metro-Boston to put on their Allman Brothers Experience Friday.
Tony Beers: Unfortunately I was driving and getting a bit lost so I didn’t arrive until Cats Under the Stars (feat. Melvin Seals) was finishing there last couple of songs, but I did get to see the Peacheaters who blew me away when I wasn’t expecting much that could–after driving nearly a thousand miles getting there, I was tired. All the band members were proficient, but the Peacheaters have one very special feature worth noting in their gifted guitarist Rick Goode. I got a chance to speak briefly with Goode after their set. I said that it was a pleasure to watch someone with such command of their instrument. The speed with which he moved expertly over his fretboard while covering some of the Grateful Dead tunes reminded me of Jeff Mattson of Zen Tricksters and now of Dark Star Orchestra and on other covers I saw licks Duane Allman would be proud of! Look around for these Peacheaters playing, they will blow you away!
The Paecheaters video courtesy of Gerry Desrosiers
I did get back FRI evening after another nice drive up through Vermont, and was lucky enough to miss some of the rain that quickly passed through Jerry Jam late Friday afternoon. I was there on time I believe for the Garcia Project with special guest Melvin Seals. I tried to record their set, but alas, had battery issues. Thank goodness for Archive.org and tapers!
The Garcia Project Audio:
I had a chance to catch-up with Mik Bondy of the Garcia Project since the festival and he had this to say about their set with Melvin Seals:
“I have been performing at Jerry Jam with The Garcia Project since our first time there on july 29, 2011. Since my first trip there, I have looked forward to spending time on that land and with the people that are Jerry Jam.
In 2013, Kat Walkerson (Singer in The Garcia Project) brought her musical friend, Melvin Seals to Jerry Jam for the first time. That year The Garcia Project and JGB Band both performed with Melvin Seals on back to back nights. It was a pinnacle moment for me as I was staring across the stage at Melvin Seals – who stared across the stage at Jerry Garcia for 15 years! I learned a lot from Melvin that day and even before then and after I have played with Melvin Seals a number of times. Each time is special, enlightening, and is musical magic.
The Garcia Project has been specializing in the 70’s era Jerry Garcia Band, and this year at Jerry Jam 2015 we brought Melvin back in time to play some special 70’s deep cuts. We also had Melvin give us some of his favorite tracks to mix in for this set as well.
Road Runner started off with Kat Walkerson singing the lead and Melvin’s hammond started pumping! He Aint Give You None was a classic that Melvin performed with Jerry Garcia over 30 times. Stir It Up is a classic Donna form the 70’s era song that Melvin got to experience with us! Valerie was selected by Melvin and is a energetic,rocking blues cut with a signature Jerry riff throughout. Strange Man is a first time for Melvin and another deep cut from the 70s with Kat singing the Donna leads on this one. That’s What Love Will Make You Do is a probably the most fun you can have making music with Melvin Seals. Listen to the space the Garcia Project gives him to really spread out and fill up the sound field. Tears Of Rage is another Melvin pick for us…and one of my personal favorites. Tore Up blends the 70’s with the 90’s and rocks. Mystery Train has become a staple of The Garcia Project sets and we play it with that 70’s feel for Melvin to glide down the tracks on. Lucky Old Sun was the number one song that most people told me gave them chills. Lonesome and a Long Way From Home has become our musical anthem for The Garcia Project and one of Melvin’s favorites to perform with us. We encored with Mission In The Rain – and the fireworks began as well!
Please take a listen and enjoy the soundboard recording of our set with Melvin Seals. Jerry Jam is truly a magical event where kind minds and good times abound!”
I was super stoked to see Pink Talking Fish afterward. I had known about them pretty much since their inception, and was stoked to see them. The band combines a tribute to Pink Floyd, the Talking Heads, and Phish, but are not strict re-creationalists, rather they do mash ups and alternate versions of all of the material and standard versions, too.
TB: (Following The Garcia Project) I was sort of surprised when I heard another band started playing on stage. I was sitting a ways away happily eating and sucking down cold liquids, when slowly but surely was drawn back towards the stage. As I got closer I realized it was the band some younger heads were talking about outside the House of Blues in Chicago when I was there to see Melvin, Steve Kimock and Jackie Greene perform during the long strange trip of the Dead’s last shows earlier in the month. “Pink Talking Fish! Pink Talking Fish!”. Haven’t you heard of them!? I must admit I had not heard nor cared to listen to the “kids” much as I was trying desperately to get into the way sold out Melvin, Kimock, Greene show (superb show, unbelievable!).
Well, it turns out, PTF are fan-fkg-tastic! I have to say that when picking favorite
bands over the weekend, few ended up higher on my list than these brilliant musicians. As I got closer to the stage area, I realized PTF were opening with Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond part 1”, which was phenomenally done. By the time they got into a great version of Phish’s “Bathtub Gin”, I was impressed, but when they morphed into the Talking Heads’ “Born Cross Eyed” I was in love.
All these tunes were stretched out with fluid strong jams linking them. Then it was back to the Phish catalog with “Pigs (Three Different Ones)” and a crowd pleasing “Divided Sky”, neither of which I knew very well, but it didn’t matter, these guys were hands down my favorite band of the night. They absolutely crushed it and me! I thought they were done when they brought out their own fantastic version of Floyd’s “Time”, jamming and meandering into space before tying it all together again, but not before bringing out Floyd’s “Fearless”, a Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” that would have left me speechless, if not for them going into their own fantastic version of the Dead’s Tennessee Jed, before finishing the set with Trey Anastasio’s Ocelot.
Pink Talking Fish Jerry Jam 2015 audio
For the headliner on Friday night, or at least the last band, Roots of Creation took the stage, and as usual, killed it. It was a lengthy set, heading over two hours, and there were plenty of special guests from other bands on the festival’s schedule. It was after 2 AM by the time it was over, and I was resting at our site by the time it was over. The Standing on the Moon while I was chilling was a great way to wind down toward the end of an eventful day!
Roots of Creation Jerry Jam 2015 audio
I awoke refreshed and raring to go on Saturday! The bands were starting bright and early with bluegrass and extended well into the night! As afternoon turned toward evening one of the highlights of the whole weekend took place as a SuperJam took to the stage. The band consisted of a who’s who of the national jam scene including Scott Murawski and Mark Mercier from Max Creek (guitar and keys respectively), Russ Lawton on drums who gave way to Jay Lane (Ratdog, Golden Gate Wingmen, Furthur, Primus) also on drums. Zach Nugent on rhythm and lead guitar (Cats Under the Stars), Kenny Brooks (Ratdog) on saxophone and a cavalcade of guests.
On Sunday, there were a series of bands throughout the day, including some who had never played Jerry Jam before. Others had been long standing bands who had history with Jerry Jam all the way back to it’s roots twenty years ago.
Anna DeLeon came on as a surprise performer between other acts and played one song. It was her first Jerry Jam, and it seemed like she really got the attention of the crowd with her tune.
Tony Beers: Franny’s Barn Burners consist of musicians who were the impetus for Dan Webb’s creation, Jerry Jam. They would play at his barn Thursday nights and after 20 years they came together yet again to help Dan and the now much larger family of Jerry Jammers celebrate the 20th anniversary of this intimate family love fest in memoriam to a humble great lover of music and family, Jerry Garcia. I met Fran Manning (guitar) Sat night while we danced to the music that he and I agreed has been the soundtrack of our lives. Fran and I compared notes on our years touring with the Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band, realizing, that, though we’d never met we easily could have and understood each other right away. Kindred spirits that had been at hundreds of the same shows, I found him to be a most warm and kind individual. Fran explained the Barnburners history and contribution to Webb’s Jerry Jam and I vowed to not miss him and his bandmates grace the stage one more time Sunday at 1pm.
What I loved most about the Barnburners was, that,like most all the musicians carefully handpicked to play the Jam, they were accomplished instrumentally, vocally, but none were flashy, or showy, letting the music speak and the spirit of it flow out to a very sophisticated audience. It seemed clear to me, that, the Barnburners, their biggest fan Dan Webb, the bands, vendors, workers, and attendees–whether dancing hard, like me, or just relaxing with a cold drink and a smile-all had one thing in common: the belief that we are all more the same than we are different. That when it comes to music, it takes ALL the colors to see the rainbow appear and the magic to happen–from the soundboard guys to the back of the stage, to the guy up on the hill just tappin his foot to the rhythm, to me, down front, expressing my part three feet off the ground, trying to conjure my best Baryshnikov. The point is, that everyone has a contribution and that, in the end, it’s “the music that plays the band”.
Fran and The Barnburners did their part very well, most notably with their brilliant song choice-sweet and understated, just like Jerry.
Set List: Lazy River Road, Stealin, Peggy O, She Belongs to Me>One Headlight, Walkin Blues, Duprees Diamond, West LA Fade Away, Werewolves Of London (Warren Zevon)
AUDIO for Franny’s Barn Burners:
AUDIO FOR FLOOZY:
AUDIO for Anna DeLeon:
I had been hearing about Hayley Jane for quite some time, and we had met and chatted last year at Jerry Jam. I’ve been noting as she sits in with bands from the Van Burens to Kung Fu and Roots of Creation, with whom she sat in on Friday. She’s great, with a unique vocal style and texture. Her band seemed to be real tight and had a few guys I recognized from the Van Burens.
AUDIO for Hayley Jane and the Primates:
For the next to last band on Sunday night an all star band featuring some of the finest players from Burlington Vermont, took the stage as Dead Set, and had the weekend’s MVP, Melvin Seals, on keyboards. There were a lot of folks coming and going but I’m pretty sure it was Russ Lawton (Trey Anastasio Band) on drums alongside Ryan Clausen, Jeff Parkinson, Zach Nugent (Cats Under the Stars) on guitar and vocals, Melvin on Hammond B3 organ, Ed Grasmeyer on Bass and Vocals, Josh Dobbs on keyboards and I’m pretty sure others came and went during the set. They kicked butt and played a full set of Grateful tunes.
AUDIO DEAD SET:
>Feels Like a Stranger
New Speedway Boogie
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