Jammies XVI: A Fun Showcase of West Michigan Talent!
The Jammies were once again the place to be, despite the crazy weather that pounded an already congested downtown. While I can only really speak to my personal experience, I will try to include some links to other content to find all of the information you'll need on how the night turned out overall! I had the great pleasure of kicking off the show with a set of improvised music in Brad Fritcher + Trois. This was our first time playing the main stage, a big difference from opening the show in the front lounge last year. Despite having the added bonus of better lighting and a better sound system to play through, it was the increased amount in space that had the most impact on me as a performer. [embed]http://instagram.com/p/zDuwWclZRc/?modal=true[/embed] With this quartet, we are so used to capitalizing on smaller spaces, playing to more intimate crowds and filling the space easily with our music. With this stage setting, it was an interesting dynamic of still being intimate in communicating with each other while having to try and connect with such a spread out audience. The result was a refreshing moment for me as a musician: realizing I just need to listen to what my comrades were playing, react, and go with each shift with full intention. Too often there is a desire in me as a chordal instrument player to try and contextualize choices in melodic lines (basically try and put weird music lines in a harmonic progression that makes sense to the listener), and this was a great reminder that it's a communal effort to make music in a group. It felt great to share a totally raw experience with those who braved the weather to attend the show.
Following Brad Fritcher + Trois' performance, I then joined Hannah Rose and The GravesTones. This group is definitely becoming a hit with West Michiganders, as it pairs the recognizable persona of Hannah Rose with some handpicked talent that fills out the band and supports her sound without sounding stale or sheepish. We took the stage and delivered a solid performance of different tracks off of the debut record, tunes that had people singing as much as they were dancing. The fact that the group can deliver crowd favorites while allowing the musicians involved the freedom to have fun with the music is a rare combination (usually leaning more towards one or the other.
The biggest surprise of the night for me was finding out after I had left the Jammies (for my Grand Haven gig with Andy Frisinger's group) that Hannah Rose Graves and Justin Wierenga took the "Best Blues/Soul Album of the Year!" I'm so honored to be a part of their music, and every time I play with them there's a sense of family more than a sense of simply filling in a slot in the band. Our rehearsals last late into the night and celebrate life and music in such a powerful way, and each person I've come to know in the group has been amazing to perform with on and off stage. With talks of side projects and more shows with Hannah Rose to find more excuses to make music with each other, I can tell this group is going to continue to great things in West Michigan.
If you are kicking yourself for missing the night or just wanting to learn more about the Jammies in general, check out some of the links below! If you need more info on recent releases from Brad Fritcher + Trois or Hannah Rose and The GravesTones, you can find the links to previous write-ups below as well!
Jammies XVI Line-up: http://www.grcmc.org/wyce/node/6262/the-16th-annual-wyce-jammie-awards
History of the Jammies: http://www.grcmc.org/wyce/local/jammies
BF+Trois: https://dutchersnedeker.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/brad-fritcher-trois-the-year-of-the-architects/ Hannah Rose Graves: https://dutchersnedeker.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/album-release-shows-hannah-rose-and-the-gravestones/