October 2, 2007

Issue No. 17, October 2007

CAUGHT IN A JAM: For a full weekend we found ourselves smack-dab in the middle of the Gathering of Vibes jam-band festival

I arrived at Ithaca College in 1979 with a boxful of Lynyrd Skynryd, Tom Petty and Pink Floyd albums.
Two years later, when my college roommate, Jeff, and I went our separate ways to follow our dreams, I left with a boxful of tapes recorded from his totally cool collection of jazz and rock albums, and a wider appreciation for all kinds of music.
Jeff and I have kept in touch over the years, our families have become almost relative-like. But we live far enough apart here in New England that get-togethers – let alone going to shows – are sadly few.
This summer we were determined to see a show together. The Newport Folk fest? The lineup wasn’t inspiring. He came up with the Gathering of the Vibes Festival in Bridgeport, Conn. Jeff is more into the jam scene than I am, even though I did my time as a Deadhead in the early ’80s. I was not quite convinced about traveling 3 1/2 hours for a day of jam bands. But when the plan became three days of music and camping, well, I was excited there was adventure (and a magazine story) to be had.
There were many emails back and forth planning meals and equipment to bring, all leading up to a great weekend that started with rain the first night and ending with two beautiful days on the Connecticut coast, enjoying sun, surf, great food and music.
In this issue, we offer some of the sights we saw. The jam-band community, like the Dead community that spawned it, is quite intact. In our three-day stay, we saw no fights, no problems with the police and a lot of people – both young and old, singles and couples with kids – enjoying themselves. The festival itself, its professionalism, the food, the care for the fans, was top notch.
And the music?
That’s another question, one we explore as well. For those who love jam bands, it was great. For those of us on the fence ... well, we reveled in a weekend filled with good vibes.
Click HERE to download the new issue
Click HERE to view pics from the festival

ALSO, we review new CDs: Erin McKeown's "Lafayette," Joni Mitchell's "Shine," and Iron & Wine's "The Shepherd's Dog.'' Click HERE to read the reviews.

1. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,’’ “The Covers Album,” Cat Power. Slinky, and almost unrecognizable from the Stones original.
2. “Throw Me a Rope,” unrecorded, Gillian Welch. I’m sure the song will appear on the next album, whenever that is. Right now, we can only hear it with the help of YouTube.
3. “Loan Me a Dime,” Boz Skaggs with Duane Allman, “The Duane Allman Anthology.’’ Down, out, and awesome.
4. “Celluloid Heroes,” “Misfits,” The Kinks. It’s been a while since we heard this. Always fun to revisit old friends.
5. “Oreo Cookie Blues,” “Strike Like Lightning,’’ Lonnie Mack. Yes, a song about the actual cookie – with a little help from Stevie Ray Vaughan on acoustic slide (!).

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