Kennesaw Opry - Jamming About the Jam Session
Friday Night we went to the Kennesaw Opry.
July is a hard month to book any bluegrass players. The once-a-month opry concerts we have been attending had 3 to 4 groups a night. This night there was only one group, the “Jot ‘Em Down Boys”, and one of their founding members owns the Kennesaw Opry operation.
During the concert a lady that brought her bass guitar and her friend or husband joined them for a few songs. She had a beautiful voice and I could tell put feelings into her music, but like I said, they only played a few songs and went back to sit with the audience.
The players are mostly people who pick as a hobby when they can find time away from their job and families. They are not professionals but have a love for playing bluegrass. They explained it was a bad month to book bands – non paying bands- school is out, vacation time, yada yada.
We have seen the Jot’em Down Boys play many times through the year and just about got to know their personality and their relation to each other (two brothers are the founders). Jot’em Down Boys is named after a road that leads off Highway 400, a few miles north of Dawsonville, Georgia.
I counted 21 paying guests … at $5 a head – they took in a whopping $105 which probably was paid to the Kennesaw Recreation Department for the use of the room at Adams Park.
A couple years ago when the opry was held as “The Acworth Opry” many people came when it was at a barn at a city park that used to be a farm. They didn’t charge admission but passed a bucket for donations. But then they moved to a theater in downtown Acworth and started charging admission. The size of the audience declined. I think they made a mistake when they started charging. I think most of the people did not mind donating but one had to pay for the same thing, well, then it becomes a reluctant thing to do… when it was a pleasure to help the cause by donating. I hope that makes sense.
The ticket seller and ticket taker was a very nice lady that we deducted was the two brothers’ mother. Every time one of the band members would say something witty she would turn to us, or maybe the people near us, and say in a laughing way, “they are crazy!”
They played good. Most of it was sort of an informal jamming session. It was enjoyable.
They are men with respected kind of professions who get together and share their expertise on music. One of the players said he was a visual art teacher, one, I think has an interest in golf, and something tells me one is an engineer – still there are a couple more I haven’t figured out yet.
But sitting there, listening to the man put their heart and soul into the music they were playing I thought only at the moment are the musicians. They use the music for a release or maybe an temporarily escape from the real world – and playing fine tunes while doing it.
It reminded me of three well known people who belong to not-so-well known bands, that play just for their own enjoyment, and they are Robert Crumb, Gary Larson, and Woody Allen.
Everybody needs some kind of fun-interest…. And I guess ours is listening to music. Artists must have art appreciators, or they would be performing for a blank nothingness…. I can tap my foot almost as well as anyone there…. But most importantly, clap.