Orange Gearle

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Friday, March 30, 2007

marengo jam

American Heritage Dictionary says:

jam session

n.
  1. An informal gathering of musicians to play improvised or unrehearsed music.
  2. Informal. An impromptu discussion.
Every Thursday evening in Marengo they have a "jam session" at Phat Daddy's. I learned about this event from my friend, Donna that is from the Marengo area. I met Donna at The Mill in Iowa City. She is one of the Wednesday night regulars. We actually met, by accident, due to our twin names, and we've become fast friends.

Donna has been suggesting that I visit the jam at Phat Daddy's sometime and bring my mandolin or guitar. A few weeks ago I took her up on it, but left my instruments at home. The next week I took my guitar and now I am hooked. I've been there several times now.

It's a typical, small mid-western town...PHAT Daddy's is on "the square". The restaurant serves pretty decent food, and it's an informal environment. Everyone knows everything about everybody, very similar to what I've hated about small town life in my past....but no one knows anything about me, which is nice. The anonymity is what has made it safe for me....but...(un)fortunately I make friends fast. :-) I won't let that stop me from continuing there though.

Max is my favorite. I don't know what it is about him....but he is simply glorious. :-) He has this no-nonsense air about him...he's talented, soulful and kind. JR cracks me up. He really knows what he is doing and remembers every lyric to every song ever made (me, exaggerate? no!). He's always running around the place making sure everyone has what they need....and plays guitar, harmonica, and sings beautifully to boot. He and Max have also "taken me in", which is nice....JR in an outgoing and obvious way, and Max in his own quiet, understated way.

The whole group has been very welcoming, actually. They are just that way...the more the merrier....similar to my home growing up.

There is a man there named Jim that is particularly talented. I'm fairly certain he writes his own music, and he plays a lot of things that I like. He and I have several common interests. He is a writer/editor/photographer. He has a diverse appetite for music....and many musicians that no one knows, he and I share a liking for. I'm sure we've been to some of the same artists at CSPS -- Natalia Zukerman, Rachael Davis, Mike and Amy, etc. Last night, Donna gave me a copy of an article that he wrote regarding Thursday nights at PHAT Daddy's. He wrote the article for the newspaper called The South Benton Star Press. Unfortunately the article fell out of my pocket somewhere between PHAT Daddy's and home! I'll have to ask her for another copy. He's very interesting to me.

Every night that I have taken my guitar I have played for a minimum of 3-4 hours...and once I think we even played about 5! Needless to say my fingers are in pretty good shape! I still need to have a few lessons on the mandolin...and frankly, just play it more....but then I will probably take that in too. It's motivated me to learn some new songs....my musical background (music theory in particular) has been helpful to keep up...but really....it's all about three chords most of the time. :-) I like it when I get to play a bit of the stuff that I really like....although I get nervous. Those of you that know me, realize that this is kinda a big deal for me, given the fact that I rarely play in front of people (over the age of 7). You would think that because I am such a lyrics freak...and a huge fan of poetry and words in general...that I wouldn't have a problem...but with my nerves....Dori takes over....and.....oh well, I forget the words (and sometimes even the chords, geesh!). I suppose that the more I do it (and the more they humor me) the better I will get.

Cathy, a friend that I work with, and her significant other, Gary come most weeks too. At first I didn't really like the idea....mainly because of that whole anonymity thing....but I've gotten used to it. I've always liked both Cathy and Gary...and they are VERY fun people. After the first week I had several people at work tell me they heard about it (from Cathy), which I wasn't exactly thrilled about. But, she understands now that I've expressed my feelings about the whole thing, and it's really not that big of a deal, I suppose. I only hope Cathy can keep my other secret!! ;-)

I bet you will hear about PHAT Daddy's again......here's a few pics.....

Mom, Martha and Cathy

JR

JR and Jim

Gary

Max

D Squared (not to be confused with The Donnas)

Motley Crue

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