It’s a great time for bluegrass pickin’ in the Queen City and the surrounding area with multiple recurring jams (usually two a week). Don’t you just love that high-lonesome sound? Check our Bluegrass Jam calendar for a full list. CFS also hosts a bluegrass jam at each Folk Society Gathering concert – see our Gathering Calendar for details.
Looking for a songbook? Here is a well-crafted song book put together by some local players who attended the Queen City Bluegrass Jam for many years before moving out of state.
New to bluegrass jamming? Bluegrass jam songs often use simple structures and are a wonderful path to begin playing with others. Most use just 3 chords – the 1,4, and the 5. Read (just the bare minimum) about the Nashville Number System to learn why thinking “14151” can be more convenient than “GCGDG” for example (also covered in page 1 of the songbook). These are short cuts to getting the group on the same page with the song structure. Also, be sure to observe common etiquette at your next jam. Jamming is a social event and these “ground rules” help us have fun and sound our best.
- When someone is taking a break (i.e., their instrumental solo), play soft and no fancy backup
- Make sure you can clearly hear the singer over your own music
- When you pick the song, be sure to offer an appropriate amount of breaks to others
- Make sure everyone knows the key and chords
Pete Wernick (a.k.a. Dr. Banjo), the incredible banjo player for Hot Rize, has a detailed page covering jamming ground rules and more.
Pete also offers jamming classes and camps which are not only a ton of fun, but help develop good jamming skills in either newer players or those who don’t have experience jamming with others. The Charlotte Folk Society is not affiliated with Pete or the Wernick Method, but several of our members have had positive experiences at his camps.
If you’re interested in discovering some great North Carolina Bluegrass Music, visit the North Carolina Bluegrass Music Association. There you’ll find resources like local bands for hire, music lessons, info about regional Bluegrass festivals, and more. Consider joining the NCBGMA to show your support for this great music. And don’t forget to join The Charlotte Folk Society!