West LA Country Music Jam Pages

Howdy.

This is the place to play, jam and dig the great songs of country music in a relaxed, fun, no-hassle and friendly atmosphere.

There’s not too many places to play and enjoy classic country music in Los Angeles, so this Meetup was created to play and perform your fix of Hank, Merle, George Jones, Patsy, Ray Price, Johnny, Willie, Waylon, Loretta, Kitty, Hank T., Webb, Lefty, Bob and the gang.

But country music has a rich heritage of tunecraft carried on through generations of great performers, bands and songwriters. As such, we’ll cover a few of those great songs from Dolly to Dwight, BR-549 to Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum to the Pistol Annies.

We cover all of the classic and modern country styles: 2-step, country blues, swing, Ray Price shuffles, bluegrass, honky tonk, Bakersfield, country rock, pop country break beats, etc. Whatever the song requires or the style called by the leader of the jam.

MEETUP GUIDELINES


I’ve been organizing this Meetup for sometime and over some fits and starts, learned a few things that help make the jams a great time for everyone. As such, here are the guidelines for this Meetup.

So, before you request to join, please read them. If you feel our Meetup isn’t for you, no worries. There are plenty of great jam groups on Meetup.Com and you should find the one that fits best your musical aspirations.


SHOWING UP

The jams are a chance to meet and play with new and like-minded folks, get exposed to new country tunes, styles, even meet future bandmates. For all that to happen, you got to show up. It’s the whole premise of Meetup.Com anyway.

When you join and become a member of our Meetup, you are expected to show up within the first 3 jams. If you don’t show, you’ll be removed from the Meetup. After that, you need to attend at least once every 4 jams.

If you sign up for a jam and can’t make it, you need to change your RSVP to No before the jam. If you miss that, on the 2nd sign-up/no show/no RSVP, you’ll be removed from the group. So don’t sign up to a jam unless you’re sure you can attend.

No judgment here. Everyone’s busy and we all got our life-work schedules. Besides, the best jams are usually the ones packed with people who want to be there.


PLAYING ALONG

To make the jams fun and enjoyable, there will be a limit to players on the jam. While it’s tempting to pickup a guitar and start strumming, I will ask you to stop if I feel the song is taking a hit of too many strings, notes and noise.

You should know how to play in a band or at least with other players. This means controlling your volume, playing low and simple under vocals and solos, limiting the noodling between tunes. Yep, we all want to play, but IMHO, it’s generosity that makes music magical. So be generous, listen and when it’s your turn, play it like you stole it.

Finally, please allow space in the room for others to setup gear, stow cases, etc. Depending on who shows up, space can be tight. I may ask you to move your gear to make it comfortable for everyone. There’s no need to feel you have to get there early to grab the best spot. There’ll be room for you. Thanks.


TAKING THE LEAD

While it’s not required to attend the jam, everyone is invited and encouraged to bring in songs to play. If your song requires a chart, please see below. If you do “take the lead” on a tune then you need to know your style, tempo and key.

Some songs may not require a chart (Cheatin’ Heart, Folsom Prison Blues, etc.), in which case you should know how to indicate chord changes, toss the solos, basically arrange as we play.

SINGERS: you must know the key of the song you want to sing.


CHORD AND LYRIC CHARTS

Some of the best country songs are just two chords. Jambalaya anyone? That said, the jams go a lot better when we can follow along with a chord or lyric chart. If you just want to jam along to whatever anyone is playing, have a good ear to pick out chords, know a lot of country standards, that’s all good. No chart necessary.

But if you want to bring in a song to play, especially if it’s not widely known, then you need to have a chord chart. You need lyrics if you want to invite others to sing along. From my experience, here’s what makes a useful chart for a jam:

1. One sheet of paper, one side.

2. Simple and structured layout. Evenly spaced bar lines with repeats. Verse, chorus and bridge sections clearly marked (usually, A, B, C)

3. Nashville chord symbols (I, ii, iii, IV, V7, etc). Okay to use regular chord symbols in the song key, but the Nashville symbols allow quick key changes.

4. If printed from computer, use LARGE FONTS! At least 16pt, chords in BOLD.

5. Do not just print the TAB-LYRICS-CHORDS from a song off of CowboyLyrics.com or other chord or lyric chart website. Font’s are small, layout is a mess and it’s usually 3 pages.

6. Bring at least 4 copies, keep a binder of charts for the Meetup.


COST

Our jams are usually held in a rehearsal studio so there’s a small charge to cover that expense, usually $7. A backline is included, but guitarists are invited a small amp and pedalboard. Acoustic guitars run thru the board, please remember to bring a long cord. Drummers just need to bring sticks, maybe cymbals.

OTHER TIDBITS

Beverages of the honky tonk sort are welcome. Someone usually brings a few cold ones and the cheer it engenders fuels the spirit of a good Hank song. Thanks kindly.

Recording and picture-takin’ is strongly encouraged.

Please do not use this meetup to email promotions to your gigs or upcoming album release without contacting me first. We can work something out. You’re welcome to let everyone know of upcoming gigs during the jams, however.

Bring a business card!

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Country Jam Playlist April 9, 2012 10:40 AM Jay
About West LA Country Music Jam May 26, 2013 3:40 PM Jay

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