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June 14th, 2014
Washington Folk Fest 2014, Free and Fun At the Historic Glen Echo Park
By Dale Roethlisberger

What a blast! Get more than a dozen musicians on stage at the same time, and then let them jam. Close to mayhem, but our “director”, Geoff Seals, picked a revolving handful of players and singers for a few songs (all done jam style on the fly), then another subset of our blues horde continued until a 45 minute set was performed. For more than a decade, the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation has sent an all volunteer group of musicians to the Washington Folk Festival. We must be doing something well enough to keep being invited back. Usually the first weekend after Memorial Day is when the festival occurs.

February 15th, 2008
Bluegrass, Country, Old Timey at the Round Hill, VA Last Friday of the Month Jams
By Dale Roethlisberger

Many acoustic instrument musicians play at least some bluegrass, country, or old timey tunes. If you are even slightly interested in ‘traditional’ or ‘folkways’ styles of music then we suggest you not miss the monthly musician jams on the last Friday of each month at the Round Hill Arts Center in Virgina. You may also find out the details of this monthly musicians jam on the DC Bluegrass Union website under the section on DCBU Area Open Jams, a resource we highly recommend for acoustic musicians.

Usually, there are dozens of acoustic musicians in attendance and there are multiple rooms on two floors where sub-groupings of styles and instruments can be played without interfering with other sub-groups. In warmer weather, intrepid groups of musicians spill out into the back parking lot and the front porch. We have seen more than a dozen ad hoc musicians jam groups performing simultaneously, most of the time without noticeable interference among the performers. This venue is also terrific for listeners and fans with many opportunities to hear a wide range of music and the musicians appreciate the size of the audiences this jam draws.

In keeping with music jam session etiquette, most of the jam ‘leaders’ encourage new musicians to grow and improve their ensemble and improvisational performance techniques in a non-threatening and relaxed environment. Professional, semi-pro, and amateur musicians can all co-exist quite nicely in this situation. We look forward each month to this jam.

January 18th, 2008
Archie Edwards Blues Jams to Move to New Venue
By Dale Roethlisberger

One of the best places to jam with ‘blues’ musicians is the Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation ( located in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, the ‘barbershop’ where the jams take place every Saturday afternoon has been sold and the foundation is arranging for new space for the weekly jams to continue. We think it’s one of the best jams for any musician. One visit, and most musicians/singers are sure to add some ‘blues’ songs to their repetoire. Or, take one of the music workshops the foundation sponsors. Get the schedule of mini-concerts or arrange to play, perhaps, with some of the musicians and their groups in other public performances.
Although the foundation promotes the ‘piedmont blues’ style, many songs played in the jams crossover to rhythm and blues, country, old timey, or just about any other style on occasion. The jams are friendly and beginners are encouraged. Watch a downloadable Mpeg video of the Saturday Jam;

Blues Jammin’ at Archie Edwards

January 18th, 2008
Voice Jamming at the Metro Washington DC Pub Sings
By Dale Roethlisberger

We have been attending the Pub Sings on the first Tuesdays of each month at the Royal Mile Pub in Wheaton, Maryland for almost two years. If you like sea chanteys, Irish folk tunes, or acapella performance, you will enjoy these pub sings. In December of 2007, Ronna and I sang for the first time “The Pirate Song” – ‘Bein a pirate is all fun and games, till somebody loses an ear’.

We enjoyed ourselves immensely, and the folks attending are very supporting no matter what your singing skill level is. You can even learn from a repetoire of over 200 songs in a lyrics song book sold for a modest price at these events. Various members from many local performing groups like ‘Ship’s Company’, ‘Pyrates Royale’, and ‘Letter of Marque’ regularly attend and everyone usually joins in on the choruses of most songs with astounding harmonic results. Attend one of these events and you can learn about other regular Pub Sings in the Metro DC area.

January 9th, 2008
Philadelphia Folk Festival 2007 – Still a Jammers Paradise
By Dale Roethlisberger

I attended the Philadelphia Folk Festival for the first time in 1969 instead of going to Woodstock. My first acoustic guitar (a cheap 1958 Harmony blondie “f” hole, which I still have) went along with me. Much to my enjoyment, the campground brimmed with jam sessions, day and night, for the entire three day festival. Those jam sessions continue to this day nearly 40 years later. If you are an acoustic musician and enjoy jamming, you would do well to attend the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

The 2007 Philly Folk Fest was no exception to the past. Fortunately, we have graduated from ‘raw’ tent camping to rented recreational vehicles providing amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, real beds, and more. Having an RV allows much more concentration on playing music and enjoying the culture. Don’t let the nomenclature of ‘folk’ make you believe that you won’t find a jam session for your style of music. You will find everything from 60’s folk, blues, rhythm and blues, classic early rock n’ roll, bluegrass, country, Irish, African, Eastern European, square dancing, and more.

August 12th, 2007
Music in the Brain, Blood and Body
By Dale Roethlisberger

I confess. Since I was 8 years old and first picked up a guitar, I have been infected with that social virus of attempting to be a ‘musician’. Oh Yeah, musicianship is a disease and there is no cure. Like any cultural ‘meme’ (i.e. compelling concept), it is addicting, and the best one can hope for is a benefically parasitic version of the “music” virus and you – the host. For me, as I approach 50 years of being a musician, the infection has taken on many forms, some good, some not-so-good. Fortunately, I have not contracted the fatal form of the virus (you know, like Elvis, Jimi, Jim Morrison, Janis… the list is long and somewhat depressing, so I will not elaborate further). Anyways, this weBLOG will be about my journey thru life virally infected with music (gosh, it’s almost like herpes, no cure, and no way to predict an outbreak). Hopefully, a few of my fellow ‘infected’ friends and other guest contributors will show up here and tell you their experiences with the “music” virus.