In A Jam

Randy Owen at Big Spring Jam 2009

Randy Owen at Big Spring Jam 2009

OK, this is going to start a series of posts about music over the next few days, I think.

This weekend, for the first time, I went to all three days of Huntsville’s Big Spring Jam music festival. To be honest, I had debated whether to try to go the whole time, or even whether to try to go at all. Big Spring Jam each year increasingly makes me feel more old and out of touch — I recognize fewer and fewer of the acts, and find the headline acts less and less compelling, and those that I do get excited about are rarely the current acts anymore, but the ones that I enjoyed from college or earlier. (Three Dog Night last year, for example.)

As it turned out, I was fortunate this year to go with a friend whose musical taste I’ve come to trust, which solved the issue of not knowing a lot of the acts. This friend was among the ones who has helped introduce me to and get me to appreciate country music over the past year, so we spent most of our time at the WDRM country stage. This amused me greatly; I don’t think I’d ever been to that stage at all in any of my prior Jam visits, and was there a huge majority of the time this year.

But I’ve gotten to where I love doing that — seeing new artists in concert, and leaving liking music I’d never heard. So far, this year’s Jam has resulted in a couple of album purchases and some money spent on tracks from iTunes.

Friday was the Kentucky Headhunters, which I enjoyed, but which didn’t result in anything that I just had to have, music-wise. After that, we just wandered for a bit, checking out bits of the sets from WAR, Black Crowes, Village People and Randy Owen.

WAR closed with possibly their biggest hit, Low Rider, which their lead singer co-wrote. You have to wonder if he had any idea when he was writing it that people would still be waiting for them to play it decades later. I mean, honestly, was there a moment where he thought, “‘Low rider drives a little slower …’ That’s genius! This is the best thing I’ve ever written!”

Randy Owen was also a lot of fun; possibly the only country music I grew up with regularly was an Alabama Greatest Hits tape from the ’80s that my dad would play, and it was very cool getting to see a couple of those songs live.

Saturday I had an improv show (which went well, thanks for asking) and so was only able to make it for the last act. Again, going with this friend made things convenient — left to my own devices, I wasn’t sure whether to go hear The Fray or Collective Soul; instead I went to see Trace Adkins. Which turned out to be a great choice; it was my favorite performance of the weekend, if not for music, than for showmanship. I had a misperception of the sort of music Adkins does; I only knew two songs, which turned out to be atypical. I ended up ordering a Greatest Hits CD, and buying one other track off iTunes.

In true Big Spring Jam fashion, it rained on me a bit as I was arriving for that show, and the park was more than a little muddy, but I was fortunate all weekend that the weather remained largely agreeable.

Sunday was Heide Newfield and Sara Evans. Heide, I’d not heard of at all before, but enjoyed greatly; I ended up buying her CD at the venue, and plan to borrow some of her pre-solo Trick Pony stuff. As an added bonus, when I bought the CD, I discovered that one of the songs that I had really enjoyed was written by possibly my favorite artists, Lori McKenna. Sara Evans I knew of, and had one song that I really liked (a cover of, ironically, Lori McKenna’s Bible Song). Haven’t bought any Sara Evans yet, but, again, some will most likely be acquired soon.

All in all, a great experience at the Jam — I had an amazing time, and my iPod is better for it!

One Response

  1. I think I can answer you question about Low Rider. Every musician who writes a song thinks “That’s genius! This is the best thing I’ve ever written!” about every song they write. At least all the ones I know.

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