In support of her debut solo album, Midnight, Vermont rocker Grace Potter steps into the spotlight at the Palace Theatre in Albany on Thursday (October 29). Rayland Baxter opens the show at 8pm. Tickets are $35 & $45 in advance; $38 & $48 at the door.
I had only one day to spend at Mountain Jam this year, and despite a couple hours of rain, I was glad I went on the Friday with my long-time concert buddy Dave, with whom I’ve seen shows since the early ’70s. We came at the fest from Gilboa through the mountains in the north and experienced no traffic at all on our way to Hunter Mountain.
Spirit Family Reunion provided up-tempo, old-timey pickin’ and singin’. The first big band of the day, Trigger Hippy – featuring Jackie Greene and Joan Osborne – lived up to the buzz around their new disc and rocked hard.
After attending eight of the previous nine years of Mountain Jam, I knew I could not miss this year: It would be the final area performance of the Allman Brothers Band. I have followed this band since I heard “Whipping Post” from the At the Fillmore East album played on WRPI upon its release in 1971. A few months later I learned of Duane Allman’s death on the same radio station when they played the same track.
The first chance I got to see and hear the ABB was a couple years later at SPAC in 1973. The thing I remember most about that show was seeing an empty whiskey bottle flying in the air from the lawn into the amphitheater because everyone in the amphitheater was standing on their chairs. This prompted Gregg Allman to come out to tell the rowdy crowd that if they wanted to hear the band play then they better settle down. Then they came out and played most of the Brothers and Sisters album.
I’ve lost track of how many times since I’ve seen the band or its members play, but I’ve seen at least one show from every tour, including most solo projects. I’m going to miss this band, but I think it’s wise they leave on a very high note. The music this particular version of the ABB has been making in the last few years has kept the high standards established by Duane, Gregg, Dickey, Berry, Butch and Jaimo in the early years.
And Mountain Jam has consistently brought some of the best music being played to this area since its start ten years ago. I’m not going to spend three days at a festival unless I hear real musicians who can actually sing and play at a level that makes my eyebrows raise, my jaw drop and my body boogie. Thank you for establishing this standard, Mountain Jam.
Driving down Route 30 past Gilboa through Schoharie County, I was pretty excited to be heading towards Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain. The devastation of last year’s flood was still evident, as was many of the road and bridge repairs that made the drive easy. I was struck by the many creekside parking areas, which made the area very friendly to tourists and fishermen.
Although unable to attend the first three days of the festival this year, I had accessed some of the music on the internet. Gov’t Mule – made up of festival organizer Warren Haynes, bassist Jorgen Carlsson, keyboardist Danny Louis and drummer Matt Abts – had played two extended sets on Friday and Saturday and were joined by “The Ramble On the Road” band in the second set Saturday for a tribute to the recently deceased Levon Helm.
Led by guitarslinger extraordinaire Warren Haynes, Mountain Jam will once again take over Hunter Mountain in Hunter for four days of wonderful and wildly eclectic music, beginning on Thursday, May 31.
Naturally, Haynes’ band Gov’t Mule (or rather one of Haynes’ bands) will be headlining on the Friday and Saturday nights, but the eighth annual fest’s roster of diverse talent also includes Steve Winwood, Ben Folds Five, Michael Franti & Spearhead, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Roots, the Word and much, much more.
It’s been a long time since I went to a “Festival” type concert, but at the urging of a friend who was calling me lame, I bought a one-day pass for Mountain Jam. When I looked at the schedule for Saturday, a couple of performers jumped out at me – Mavis Staples and the North Mississippi Allstars Duo, and a chance to see Gov’t Mule. So, this 54-year old headed up the mountain wearing a NYRA “Alabama” hat, a Buck Dharma Archive T-shirt and comfortable shoes. I packed one of the kid’s backpacks with everything I needed to enjoy the concert – a change of clothes, with a hoodie and heavy sweat pants for when it got cold, a camera, binoculars (never used them once), bug spray, sunscreen, Aleve, my medicine, a big water bottle and a flashlight. With a Coleman camp chair, I was ready!
We found a place a couple of hundred feet from the stage, and claimed (or so we thought) our ground for the day and began 12+ hours of music and people watching. The crowd was very diverse – families with very young kids up to people I would consider old. The weather was spectacular – sunny with a breeze and in the mid-70s – and as we got there, the Ryan Montbleau Band started playing. Never heard of them before, have no idea what any of the songs were called, but it was a vibrant performance that swung and rocked and fit the bright weather. The guitar player was excellent and had one of the best, if not the best solo of the day. These guys ended their set by saying they play house parties! I don’t know the names of the songs, but I am going to find out.
Yeah, it sure feels like winter out there right now, but looking over the freshly announced line-up of bands for the Mountain Jam festival in June is sure to be enough to warm you up for bit.
The seventh annual Mountain Jam festival rolls into Hunter Mountain in Hunter, expanding to a four-day event which will take place from Thursday-Sunday, June 2-5. The festival will also be offering camping this year.
And the initial roster of bands that are scheduled to perform was announced today.
So who’s coming?
Since guitarslinger Warren Haynes is one of the festival’s driving forces, it’s no surprise that Gov’t Mule is returning (headlining on June 4), but the Warren Haynes Band will be playing as well, (headlining on June 3).
And My Morning Jacket is returning to headline the closing day of the fest, June 5.
But there’s more – much more. Also on tap for Mountain Jam VII are:
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