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Dec 8, 2021 - 4:23:56 PM
81 posts since 12/6/2021

Does anyone here on the forum ever attend the Friday night Rocky Branch Mountain Music Jam? It is held at an old school house on Rocky Branch Road in Walland, Tennessee between Maryville and Townsend. There are several different rooms with each room geared to a specific type of music; i.e., there is a bluegrass room, a fiddlers room, a country room, a gospel room and one room called Mountain Gap where anything goes (all other types of music that does not fit in with the other groups). I usually attend the Mountain Gap room as I play mostly Americana/folk type music on my banjo and not much bluegrass. There are very few banjos there, and like most jams I have attended there are lots of guitars.
Robert

Dec 8, 2021 - 5:55:17 PM
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Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1618 posts since 10/11/2004

YES, I have every time I visited Alcoa, where my wife' parents lived, now gone , but I still go to Alcoa 2 times a year. The best room for me is the "fiddle" room . A very good older gentleman fiddler , can play most of Bluegrass in the Backwoods & everything else & a couple others, good bass player, a good guitar player a really skinny & thin guy & can play Little Rock Getaway I enjoyed playing with him, a mandolin or two. The first couple times I had the impression they didn't like banjos so I didn't push & kind of eased in & ask if I could join in. List time I was there someone had a tenor banjo , Irish I suppose, & another banjo player. I really enjoyed that jam room but last time it wasn't feeling right so I didn't play.
In the bluegrass room it was like a band was practicing & a couple banjo players was trying to out do each other playing loud & as fast as they could.
Tommy

Dec 8, 2021 - 7:55:47 PM

TN Time

USA

81 posts since 12/6/2021

The first time I was there was last Friday. When I heard that the Mountain Gap room played a variety of music I went to that room. I think I fit in pretty well. They asked me to do two songs which I did and it seemed to go over well. It was more like a performance than a jam as most jams i have been to, everyone sits in a circle and the jam leader starts out and then everybody in the circle gets a chance to either lead a song or pass. Everyone also gets a chance to play a break. In the Mountain Gap "jam" The leader and her partner did around five or six songs and everyone else just played along. A few people were asked to play a break. A few people were asked to lead a song but not everyone had a chance. Sometimes jam etiquette was followed and sometimes it wasn't. For example, no one ever mentioned the title of the song, they just started playing and singing. Most of the time no one ever told the group what key the song was in, but sometimes they did. So a lot of guess work was involved. Still I think everyone had a good time. I will be there this Friday. I know what you mean about some players competing against each other. I've been to jams like that and it is just a shame that one or two guys will take the enjoyment right out of the jam.
Robert

Dec 9, 2021 - 2:13:09 AM
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banjoy

USA

10004 posts since 7/1/2006

Well, it's been at least 15 years since I've been to that jam session but yes, I used to go to Rocky Branch all the time. I lived in east Tennessee for about 26 years and moved back to SC in 2009.

Rocky Branch is like most any other open things like this, there's some good picking sessions sometimes and others, not so much. It all depends on who shows up. You sometimes get the bluegrass all-star prima donnas (in their own mind) but more often, regular real gracious people who know how and what to play and when not to play.

I remember only a few names, Bob Holmes (guitar), Jim Lethgo (guitar), Marvin Gideon (mandolin) and Dennis Wilkerson (bass) and folks I would jam with regularly. Marvin Gideon passed away suddenly in 2007 and his loss hit me hard, he had become a good friend and we often rode together to all these jams all over east TN. Jim is a tall lanky fellow so that may be who plays Little Rock Getaway.

I have maybe a dozen MP3s in my BHO uploads of a jam session with all the musicians I named above, at Bob's Knoxville home on December 27 2006. Very relaxed, fine jamming with good friends. (Little Rock Getaway was one of those tunes as I recall.) Once I moved back to SC I lost touch with all these folks... :(

Anyway, Rocky Branch was at least an hour from my home at the time (I was in Andersonville) but well worth the trip most times. Another gathering worth checking out is every Tuesday at Bradbury Community Center off Buttermilk Road in Lenoir City, TN just west of Knoxville.

Thanks for posting, this brought back some fond memories ... if any of these names ring a bell for you, please tell them I said hello from afar and convey my kindest regards.

Edited by - banjoy on 12/09/2021 02:17:42

Dec 9, 2021 - 8:01:51 AM
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Players Union Member

TLG

USA

1618 posts since 10/11/2004

The "Fiddle Room" was the most accommodating room I have been in. Although they seemed a little distance at first they did tolerate me until I didn't seem like a loud, obnoxious prima donna banjo player, which I never thought I was, but played backup till my turn which they gave.
I don't remember any names. I was told by someone the fiddler was a retired teacher.
Tom

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