Photo by Andrea Schiff

Thursday came quickly this week for me, and it was that afternoon that found myself driving from north central Mass up to Bath NH on the western border of New Hampshire. I arrived at the gate and had no troubles getting in whatsoever, and found my crew and site easily.

Thursday night is typically for vendors, volunteers and crews only, a bit of an early bird party- but this year the night was opened up to some customers too. As I was wondering around I think it was Dead Grass who took the stage. I didn’t have a chance to check them out but our good friend Gerry JD did. The band comes with fiddle, banjo, upright bass, and acoustic and electric guitars.

The other stage had a singer songwriter duo on it as I was wondering by that was quite pleasant. Next up on that stage was rice an American Band who played for nearly 90 minutes as the light was dimming. It was a spirited show with a bunch of new material by the band. For the first time bassist Lauryn Winiarski stepped up to the lead vocal position taking the lead vocals on the band’s original Only a Dream and Cage the Elephant’s Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.

Steve Benson carried a heavy load for rice that night with mandolin, pedal steel and backing vocals throughout the night. He took his own turn at lead vocals with Warren Zevon’s Lawyers Guns and Money as well as Blues Traveler’s Hook. For that song he busted out the harmonica and showed that really there is no instrument that he can’t play. The rest of the show featured Phil Simon on lead vocals and most of the songs were originals. The band premiered the song Peace Love and Understanding written by Nick Lowe but popularized by Elvis Costello. One guy in the crowd commented “I came running when I heard you playing this! Could you play it again?”

Full audio for rice – an American Band: use the arrows to move between songs.

Up next on the main stage was John Kadlecik who did his solo Acousti’Lectric show.

From the video channel of gerryjdvideo

In addition to numerous Grateful Dead songs, he also did some other material, too. A few songs were Kadlecik originals, a few were Robert Hunter penned lyrics with Kadlecik’s music, and even another cover or two outside of the Grateful canon including a segue into Bruce Cockburn’s Lovers in a Dangerous Time.

Full show audio for John Kadlecik, use the arrows to navigate between songs:

Kadlecik did mainly a traditional solo show, though sometimes he used his looping station to create full band sounds, strumming out rhythm parts, adding bass lines, and then eventually layering solo leads over the ‘band’ he’d created by himself.

Full Show Audio of Sly Richard, use the arrows to navigate between songs.

The final band on that stage on this pseudo opening night was Sly Richard. I had heard them at least once before at Jerry Jam and dang they are good. It is an organ and vocals based band, though the band is fully fleshed out with bass, guitar and drums too of course. But the two standouts are the B3 organ player Tyler Wayne and vocalist Chris White. I commented to my friend “How I wish I was born and blessed with this man’s voice!”

Their material tended on the grittier end of things, dipping into southern rock and the Allman Brothers material. White stood out on Van Morrison’s Caravan and the band fired off close to two hours of music that was a perfect close to the night and a perfect open to the whole weekend.

While the weekend would be a scorcher, this was a warm up and a great one to boot. Keep an eye out here for more audio, video and reviews of Jerry Jam 2019!

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