The Old-Time jam scene is going strong in the area with both long-running and new jams alike. You’ll hear a variety of tunes from the Appalachia and beyond. Here you’ll often find fiddles, banjos, guitars, a bass, and even mandolins, dulcimers and more. Jump right to our Old-Time Jam Calendar for upcoming jams or read on for specific jam info and beginner-friendly resources.
Old-Time Jams at our Gatherings
CFS hosts a slower paced Old-Time jam at each Gathering (after the show when at the Great Aunt Stella and before the show when at Anne Springs). Led by fiddler Alan Davis, the Old-Time Jam meets on the third floor of the Great Aunt Stella Center in the “Board Room” where we’ll play for about an hour. When at Anne Springs Greenway, we start up around 4:30.
There are a lot of tunes here, that’s so we can have some variety. Each jam we begin with a different key; playing the tunes in one key always seems to fill the time and lets those that play in specific tunings the freedom to set up in advance and stay there all evening.
This jam is a nurturing environment where those new to jamming can get their feet wet. If you become familiar with the common tunes played at this jam, you’ll be in good shape for an hour or so of casual playing.
We’ll go through these in the order listed in the PDF. For beginners who might think this is too many to learn completely, the tunes at the top of each list are the easiest. The mp3 and midi samples, and the music/chords, are offered only as examples for those who need them. If you know a different version, as long as we’re in the same key that should be fine.
The Mint Hill Old-Time Jam
Spend your Saturday mornings playing with the Mint Hill Old-Time Jam at the charming Carl J. McEwen Historic Village located in downtown Mint Hill, North Carolina.
We start at 10 AM and play for two hours, round- robin style. When the weather permits, we make music outdoors behind the Ashcraft One Room Schoolhouse building. If the weather is less cooperative, we meet inside the Schoolhouse.
This jam happens every Saturday throughout the year, except during the Holiday Season that is from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. The Mint Hill Jam has earned the name “The Gentle Jam” because we welcome newcomers, though many of our jammers are quite skilled. Read on down the page for some great resources – common songs you’ll find played at the Mint Hill Old-Time Jam.
Just so ya know, in keeping with the historical and compact nature of this gorgeous restored schoolhouse facility, the setting is not ideal for pets, amplified instruments, or unattended children.
In addition to the jams above, be sure to check the Old-Time Jam Calendar for more jamming opportunities.
Old-Time Jamming Resources
The “Slow-Jam” collection below was put together by Ed Gebauer, and is terrific for getting started. Our favorite books are the two volume collection by Mary Gordon and Hilary Dirlam, ironically called The All-In-One Old Time Jam Book. But people also bring copies to share of their favorites tunes, or call out a tune name and we all play along by ear.
Some general resources to learn new tunes:
- Hetzler’s Fakebook
- Pegram Jam site (Here’s their “Recipe for a Happy Jam”)
- The All-In-One Old Time Jam Book from Celestial Music
- Chords to folk songs
- Traditional Music Library
- Jay Buckey’s free tab for many instruments
- List of tunes from New Mexico Folk Music and Dance
Society – Lots of mp3s
- Great website from Seattle area to learn fiddle
music. Lots of slow mp3s!
In addition to these resources, it is also recommended to acquire “The Amazing Slow Downer” from http://www.ronimusic.com/ as a practicing aid as you learn to play. (note-CFS has no business or organizational relationship with Roni Music) This easy to use tool has helped millions learn to play their instruments, and is fun to work with!