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Blues Jam Guidelines and Courtesies
Welcome to the Charlotte Blues Society Blues Jam.
You are participating in a tradition that is over 26 years in the making. The Charlotte Blues Society has consistently promoted a Blues Jam as part of its Blues Sunday.
The Charlotte Blues Society’s Blues Sunday occurs on the first Sunday of each month. The Blues Jams do not happen at every Blues Sunday.
Always refer to charlottebluessociety.org for details and schedules. We hope your experience will be inspiring and that your own musical abilities will be informed by these jams.
We offer the following guidelines to consider when signing on as a participating jammer:
A practical suggestion, Sign up early. On the sign-up sheet please list your instrument and/or ability that you wish to contribute to the Jam. While the Blues has a lot of variations, please be advised this is a Blues Jam. Please keep it real ladies and gentlemen.
Be respectful of any equipment that you use, backline and PA, treat it as your own or possibly better than your own. Bring your own instruments. If you have a special amp, pedal or set-up that you need to use, remember guideline #1; Come early. Youth jammers will get priority but all will play.
Keep track of your place on the sign-up sheet. It is not up to the Jam Master to track you down when your time to shine arrives.
Please be advised that you need to be tuned and ready BEFORE you get on stage. Additionally, if you are a guitarist that tunes down a half step, please note the House band will be tuned to standard 440. Two choices remain, either tune to 440 or make allowances in your choice of a chord voicing.
Volume: If you only hear yourself on stage, perhaps you are too loud. Likewise, if you hear everyone else, but not yourself; turn up.
Be respectful of your fellow musicians, no matter what their ability may be. Everyone usually starts at the same place.
In regard to soloing, again please be respectful of other musicians in the jam. For example, rhythm guitar is not just something to waste your time on while you wait for your next solo. One of the lessons of a Blues Jam is to learn how to be as apt an accompanist as you hope to be as a soloist. The Jam Master will be generous with solos but be mindful of other musicians that may be waiting to jam.
Lastly, have fun. Also respect the traditions as well as the innovations of the Blues. Likewise, respect the Charlotte Blues Society and The Neighborhood Theatre for providing the space and equipment for you to jam.
In Addition, we highly recommend you read and observe the following
"The Ten Commandments of Jam" from Derek Trucks.
1. Just listen.
Make sure that when you’re on stage with others, you are paying attention to what’s going on and not getting self-involved in your own world.
2. Respect everyone else’s musical space.
The easiest way to kill a vibe is by jumping in and adding your two cents too soon, while someone else is still trying to build something. Just let things happen.
3. Make you sure you are telling a story.
Never just be playing scales, filling space or going through the motions. Sometimes people resort to such tactics just to fill space but it’s always a mistake. Longer solos aren’t always better solos. Always have something to say.
4. Try to play an emotion.
Always be aware of what emotion you want to convey and try to tap into it. You can often hear what a great soloist is going through. It doesn’t take words to express a thought; you can definitely spell out emotions musically and should always strive to do so.
5. Never use the bandstand to practice.
Don’t waste time working through things. It’s great to take chances but not to try things you are completely unsure of. Save your practice time for off stage.
6. Treat the stage as your church.
Respect what you are doing. If you want people to respect what you’re doing and think it means something, you have to act like it does. All great artists treat the stage like it is sanctified.
7. Make sure your intentions are right.
Don’t be up there to boost your ego or career. Mean what you’re doing and appreciate it. You won’t get anywhere musically if you are just on stage to impress people.
8. Always make the band sound better.
Don’t just highlight what you do; serve the group and the music. Playing rhythm behind someone or even sitting out at the right moment is just as important as soloing. Some people sound great when they’re doing their thing but just get in the way when they’re not.
9. Educate with your music.
Always move forward and turn your audience on to new things instead of relying on the same old tricks. A core audience gets stuck listening to one group and think that’s it, but you’re around so much music and should always be inspired by new things. It’s important to pass that along, and it keeps you out of ruts.
10, Make sure you mean what you’re doing.
Do what you want and love. If you’re playing with somebody, you might as well do it right. No matter what the gig, dig in and go to town.
A favorite event at Blues Society meetings, and The Instigators always provide a solid base to build a jam on.
Once again we have a list of songs that WILL be played during the jam. This is especially helpful for new jammers.
Songs for next Jam Charlotte Blues Society
Each is listed with Song and Key
Hoochie Coochie Man – G
Tore Down – D
Sweet Home Chicago – E
Empty Promises – Dm
Crossroads – E
Messin' With the Kid - C
Roadhouse Blues – E
Never Make Your Move Too Soon–F
Pride and Joy - E
The Thrill is Gone – Bm
Born Under a Bad Sign - G
Mustang Sally - C
Big Legged Woman – C
Mean Old World - E
Further On Up the Road – G
Stormy Monday – G