Jams nurture performers

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

On the third Saturday of every month, the melodic, heartfelt strains of bluegrass, played by mostly amateur local musicians, ring out from a Chesapeake Square music store.

With acoustic guitars, banjos, harmonicas, fiddles, blues harps — there’s often even a stand-up bass and a washtub bass — the musicians have a grand old time playing music passed down through generations, much of it distinctly connected to Virginia.

DnD Music co-owner Danielle Gerard said the jam session from 3-5 p.m. was originally “held open for all different styles,” but it seemed that folks wanted to play bluegrass more than anything else.

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Gerard said bluegrass has been big in Suffolk and surrounding areas “for a long time,” saying, “It’s a little bit more rural an area.”

“We noticed when we moved to this area that we had a lot more acoustic and bluegrass players,” she said. “A lot more acoustic guitars are flying out of here, rather than electric.”

The jam sessions take place in a room at the music store on Taylor Road, where student reviews also take place. Coffee is set to percolate before folks start arriving, instruments in tow.

They are led by a facilitator who has been doing so “for quite some time,” Gerard said.

Many at the sessions “never get to play because they have busy lives and have families, that sort of thing.”

Most of the songs, she said, are bluegrass standards that allow even beginners to contribute. Often, someone will turn up with a new song and expand the repertoire.

“It’s a playing session, too, for a lot of people who have never done that before,” Gerard said. “Some of them might even start playing together in a band.”

Some come just to listen and experience the jam, Gerard said.

DnD Music’s Acoustic Bluegrass Jam is free of charge and open to the public.

For more information, visit www.dndmusic.biz or call 484-6233.