Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 27 2006 Jam

Where’s Doc’o? He’s somewhere between Missoulla and Missouri… on the road again…with a little help from a young friend who hooked him up to the worldwide web he e-mailed last week to let us know he is alive and well. On Thursday he called the jam to say “hi” to all you jammers, Thursday he was well beyond Missoula but lost in middle America… Donny we miss you, hurry on home to Alaska!

Lots of visitors this night hailing from all across America! A special welcome goes out to Rick and Edith, previous Eagle River residents who have relocated to the east coast but came to Alaska to vacation. Welcome, welcome what a nice treat to have them in our audience again.

Thursday night’s jam started with the core band: Matt on acoustic guitar, Gary Price on drums, Paul Schlomer on harp, and Pat Rat on bass. Dan, our masterful soundman, was busy manning the sound booth as our stellar bartendress, Jessica, was keeping everyone wet, because it was one hot evening in the ole’ Sofie’s North Slope Saloon.

A briney trio of Prine tunes started out the evening. Then our “Worried Man,” our own personal folk classic extraordinaire, John A., joined the band. His sis and nephews joined the audience, hailing all the way from Oklahoma. Ah, Matt thought they ought to have been here “sooner.” John sang, “Worried Man,” “Chilly Winds,” and “Greenback Dollar.” This night we had one lone clogger this set, new to the North Slope dance floor, was Laurie. Wow, you should have seen her feet move. Also, audience from Colorado… welcome to Alaska! Cuba, our perennial conga player, introduced us to his newly found daughter. More dancers with Laurie joined by Rachel Rae, one of our favorite North Slope voices and dancer extraordinaire.

Time for a quick change brought Matt Valley on acoustic guitar and Tre on drums, center stage. Valley Matt brought us unique fare with original flare with his own great original tune, “I Always Have to Steal My Kisses from You,” followed by a little “Folsom Prison Blues” and then a Sweet Virginish tune that I didn’t catch the name of, that had us all tapping our toes and the dancers still a’dancing and brought Jam Master Hammer back to the stage on flute.

Standing room only again, for the third week in a row, brought North Slope's Manager Pat Osborne and Jessica to work behind the bar. Both were working up a sweat. Hats off to Pat and Jessica, keeping our thirst quenched, as the first set came to a close.

Set two brought Kyle on sax main stage with two of his friends, a father/son team named Brad and JC. Brad and JC are new to the North Slope stage, welcome to both. Brad, the dad, plays acoustic guitar and siggs, and JC the son, of course, wants to plug in. Dad sang, “Love the One Your With,” “Angel from Montgomery,” and “Southern Cross.” Welcome, welcome to these two new jammers.

The Arment/Hammer reunion portion of the jam then began, bringing Loren and Penny Arment center stage, Special Ed on electric and the core band as backup. A crowd pleaser was the Pure Prairie League tune, “Amy,” in three-part harmony. Loren then launched into “Walking with My Baby”…which felt like he should be running with his baby as fast as this tune went. Penny stepped up to the mike and sang, “Papa Come Quick” and the group then played, “Fire on the Mountain.” Michelle joined in on tambourine and the boys and girls of summer launched into “Boys of Summer” as set two came to a close.

Set three brought a whole new line up of “North Slope stars” main stage. Mike, our favorite guitar fiddler on the roof on electric; Texas Jimmy D on electric; Torie on sax; Moe on keyboards; Kyle on sax; Michelle on tambourine; Cuba on congas; and Rachel on lead vocals. We asked Rachel what she called her new jam band… but of course…“Rachel and the Rachelettes.” The group played “Bobbie McGee,” with Rachel lending her Joplinesque vocals to the mix; “Give Me One More Reason” and ending with Rachel’s own tasty rendition of “Stormy Monday” with sweet licks by all the lick players.

Time for a quick change with Texas Jimmy D stepping to the mike. “Thanks Matt,” says Jimmy, “put me after the chick singer, she’s cute and I’m old and… well, thank you…” We all laughed…great hair, guy! Jimmy launched into a Freddy King shuffle and his own original “nasty, slow, quiet tune, minor key sharp kind of thing” called “Time Will Get You”. Sweet, sweet licks by Mike, Torie and Jam Master Hammer.

Jimmy’s own joke, “How many guitar players does it take to change a light bulb?” Answer: “One to change, and ten to say, I can do that, no I can do that, no let’s do it like that…” Lick players!

As you can see, Rachel's usual amount of Sax has now doubled.

Matt runs the show Jam Night, but this blog would not exist without the ever faithful efforts of his number one fan and backup vocals, his wife Lona Hammer, shown here recording the evening's events on her clipboard so you can read about them online (yes, here. Lona wrote 99% of what you read online here, but Steve wrote this paragraph.)

This last item is just one of the reasons that Matt's Jam Night is so special; when individual musicians perform so extraordinarily well - Here is a movie of Kyle (the Kid) doing a 30 second tenor sax solo - Incredible! To download this movie Click Here. The video is way too dark but the download is still worth it just for the listening. I'm surprised that a tiny still camera can record such good audio. (50 MB MPEG-4 version is available)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 20 2006 Jam

Where’s doc’o? Donny’s lost in America…banjoing and bag pipping across the US of A… with a song in his heart… and a long, tall wish… we’re a wishing he’d come on home…before it gets cold outside!

A Bob Dylan sound check and a “beau-ti-ful audience” and away we go. A ‘loony’ “Crazy as a Loon” John Prine duo and we then got all folked out with John A., our perennial “Worried Man. We were wishing the winds were chilly and John chilled us down with his “Chilly Winds” song… a little green with ‘Greenback Dollar” and a quick trip on the “MTA” and a little “Tupelo Honey” adding just the right touch of sweetness with guest host, Texas Jimmy D and his jammy buddy, Stu Schulman stepping up to the main stage.

Set 2 began with a birthday happy for Victoria this day, 30 years young!

With guest host jammer, Texas Jimmy D. leading the way, Jimmy D on vocals, ‘Special’ Ed on electric, Gary on Drums, Stu on bass, Matt on flute, Moe on keys, and Michelle on tambourine, launched into “Baby What You Want Me to Do” and “Since my Baby Can’t Be Found.” Two tunes that were a dash of blue suede shoeish type music. Time for a quick change with Tom Lambert joining the jammers on the Hammond organ, and Bob Parsons on electric guitar.

Traveling all the way from Portland Oregon to join jammers, was Mr. Clark Boyer on drums. Mr. Boyer was a new jammer to this North Slope jam stage but an old sage North Slope jammer from the last millennium. Clark has the title of being Matt’s first drummer, and Clark, as I recall, often used to say, “Matt beats to a rhythm all his own.” Tough gig being a drummer breaking in a 20+ year soloist… Thank you, Clark, for joining us this evening! Safe travels back home to Portland. Another new jammer John B on saxophone joined the group and Jimmy D, Stu, Cuba, Paul, and young Kyle on sax. Adding Jimmy D’s original fare, “Runaway Love” and “Last Love of my Life” made for some sweet, sweet listening for the audience. Jimmy D is not only a great guitar player, he is a fine, fine songwriter!

Set 3 opened with a Happy Birthday to one of our favorite audience members, Ms. Linda Stewart. A big birthday cake, a happy birthday song, and “Let them eat cake,” she cried. Happy birthday, Linda, many more happy birthdays to you.

Quick change brought Mike on electric, Tori on sax, Gary back on drums, Jimmy D on electric, Kyle on sax, Pat on bass, Paul on harp, Cuba on congas and Jam Master Hammer back to the stage. Group sax this night, with three excellent saxophone players. Jimmy led the group into “Down at the Crossroads” with multiple members of the audience playing those ever present audience air guitars… great job guys!

A little instrumental electric magic from the guitar players had members of the air guitar contingent on their knees bowing to the electric kings; the grey, the blonde and the dred… locks that is… whew, those players be smokin’

Yet another configuration brought Moe on keys, LA from Virginia Beach on electric guitar, Tori, Kyle, Matt, Pat, Cuba on maracas, Gary, Mike and a new conga player, Angie, to the stage. A bit of “Steamroller Blues” had Matt whimpering, “I’m not worthy!” Sweet, sweet notes this night, folks. A little “San Diego Serenade” brought Michelle to the stage on tambourine.

Yet more new jammers to the North Slope stage. Warm welcomes go out to Shelly on lead vocals and Bonnie on bass of Bull’s-Eye fame. The ladies were were joined by Ranger Doug on electric and vocals, Kyle, Tori, Paul, Cuba, and Jimmy D. Shelly can really belt a song out and most beautifully lead jammers into “Wild Horses,” “Chain of Fools” and “Runaway.” These tunes had all of our feets a tapping and many of the audience on their feets a dancing. Welcome, welcome goes out to Shelly and her crew! We hope they come back soon.

Yet more jammers… yes folks, this night we had 29 jammers… coming back to the stage was ‘Special’ Ed, joined by Tammy on bass, Jimmy D., Gary, Tori, Kyle, Cuba, and Pat Rat manned the harmonica corner. Tammy sang, “Everything I Need, Almost, Almost.”

Then I slipped up with a little traveling music taking everyone to “Atlanta, a toe-tapping Alison Krause tune. Matt launched into “House of the Rising Sun” with our daughter Michelle joining jammers on clarinet and once again the Matt Hammer jam came to a close.

Special thank you goes out to Jessica, our bartender, cocktail waitress, food service, dishwasher, and bouncer all rolled into one neat and petite package. She does it all and like the ever-ready bunny, just keeps on ticking…playing to this standing room only crowd. Thank yous to Shelly and the Bull’s-Eye Crew, Special Ed, LA and Mike, Clark, all saxes, and our guest host Texas Jimmy D and the most excellent musician, Stu Schulman. Thank yous go out to everyone for supporting this jam!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

July 13 2006 Jam

Wow! Standing room only this night! Busy seeking more tables and chairs for folks to sit down! Our guest host jammer... “Special Ed” Christensen, everybody’s favorite HVAC/applianceman and Special electric guitar player extraordinaire!

Another night of music, fellowship and fun! This night we had 9 electric guitar players, 4 acoustic guitar players, 2 bass players, 2 keyboard players, 1 tambourine player, 1 drummer extraordinaire, 2 conga players, 1 harp player, 10 vocalists and 2 saxophone players. All in all, over 27 musicians and vocalists in the room, at my last count. We were so busy some folks didn’t get a chance to get up and jam, we flat out ran out of time before we ran out of jammers.

Set one began with the core band; Matt on vocals and acoustic guitar, Pat Rat on bass, Paul on harp, Gary Price on drums, and yours truly on background vocals. Matt went a little loony on us with John Prine’s “Crazy as a Loon” and with a trio of Prinetunes, the jam was off to a running start. John A. was back in fine style with his folk classic trio and set one came to a quick close with John breaking his G string. Oh my…

Set two began with Matt, Pat, Gary, Paul and they were joined by Guest Host, Special Ed on electric guitar and vocals, Cuba on congas, Eli and Kyle on dos saxophones, and Loren Arment on acoustic guitar and vocals. A new jammer joined the group and blew us away with his tasty electric guitar licks. A big welcome goes out to Charlie! Matt took us to “Tupelo Honey” and then turned the mic over to Mr. Arment who launched into, “It’s All Over Now”. Michelle joined the group on tambourine. The Mrs. Arment jumped to the main stage for some harmony vocals as her hubby moved jammers into “Boys of Summer,” albeit it backwards, but it worked! Wow, that was a perfect scream, Pen, and we’ve got this one on tape! Special Ed then stepped up center stage to the mike singing, “All of Me” with that Louis Armstrong voice of his, and then led jammers into, “Black Magic Woman.” Many solo moments on this one, even the drummers solo’ed…

By set 3 we were at standing room only. With a quick change of conga players, Angie wo’manned the congas, Tammy wo’maned the bass and vocals, Tom Lambert joined the gals on keyboards, Bob Parsons joined in on electric, Special Ed joined in on electric, and Gary on drums. Cuba moved to maracas while Michelle continued to wo’man the tambourine. Tammy sang a fine rendition of, “I Heard it through the Grapevine” and “Hey Bartender.” Charlie stepped back main stage and Bob led the group in a jazzy instrumental number that I believe is his own. Another new jammer, Kelly, hailing from Jam Master Hammer’s hometown of Idaho Falls, joined jammers on keyboard. Hearty welcome goes out to you, Idaho! Ed sang “Flip, Flap and Fly” as a bevy of beauties danced at the back of the room.

Set 4 began with Alaska’s own, “Texas Jimmy D” on electric, Kyle on sax, Tom Lambert returning to man the keyboards, Pat Rat back on bass and Gary on drums. The group was joined by another jammer, new to the North Slope big stage, but not to the North Slope, Mike joined the group. Mike is new to Alaska, but certainly no stranger to an electric guitar. He is known best as the “Guitar Fiddler on the Roof.” Great licks from this young man, watch for him and that beautiful white electric guitar! Smokin!

The audience yelled out, “Play something loud; and Jimmy D said, “ah, well that’s an electric guitar player’s dream!” The group launched into, “Baby what you want me to do” and then moved into Jimmy’s slow and soulful Cap Callowayish original. Sweet, sweet. Matt joined the group on flute, we had audience members on shakers, musician audience members Alex, Will, Jimmy Jammers, Phil, Terry and Kathy standing by. I slipped up for a quickie harmony as Matt led the group in “Some Things are Never Gonna Change.” Miss Penny Lee stepped main stage with Matt to sing Matt’s soulful rendition of that old classic, “Summertime,” and the night, all too soon, came to a rambunctious close.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Jam Blogs - December 29th thru July 6th

Jam Blog 7-6-06

Where’s Doc’o? The good doctor, it appears, is stalled out in Chico, amigos…slipped and tripped up by rancid butter…

Thursday night’s jam was oh so much fun! Two saxophone players, 4 acoustic guitar players, 4 drummers, 5 electric guitarists, 7 singers, un conga player, one organ, one ukulele, two Matts, two Garys, two Jimmys, one Pete, a sack of Hammers, and several moments of zen….

Big welcomes go out to the folks from “America”… John A.’s sister’s friends. What a fun audience! Be safe on your way to your next destination.

We started out with a tried and true John Prine trio with Jam Master Hammer on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, Pat Rat on m’velous bass, Paul on mong’ster harp, Cuba on classic conga, Gary, our most excellent drummer, on drums, and yours truly on harmony vocals.

The night started out with hecklers and Matt, from the stage, heckling the hecklers, saying, “Is there a sign in the bathroom that says, ‘Heckle Matt?’” Sharon, of NS Management, pipes up and says, “No, but I can put up a sign if you want.” Bless Sharon’s heart, she’s always right there to help! We all had a good laugh and the night began on this lighthearted comic note.

We had a great night, this night; great bartender, great management, great audience, with both professional audience members and audience guitarists, chording in a corner, everyone in harmony, enjoying the magic moments of music. Professional, perennial audience member, Bea, summed the night up best, “Wow, what a jam!”

John A. sang and played, “Worried Man,” “Chilly Winds,” “MTA” and “Greenback Dollar.” We sent these tunes, with love, and all the applause, to John’s sister, wishing she could be with here, too!

Matt Valley has returned, excuse me that’s Valley Matt. Matt and his friend, Dave stepped center stage with their acoustic guitars and Jam Master Hammer moved to the flute. Valley Matt sang two Jack Johnson tunes, “Taylor” and “Bubble Toes,” Eric Clapton’s “Hey, Hey,” and finished with Ben Harper’s snappy tune, “Steal My Kisses.” We haven’t seen Matt since the snow was low on the mountains and wow, he brought such an air of confidence and artistry to the stage this trip. Great job! Hope this young man comes back to jam soon.

Set 2 began with a drummer from America…George Elinore slipped in on drums, joining the core band, Tom Lambert on organ, Kyle on sax, Special Ed and Alex on dos electrics…once more we be jammin’ that ever-shrinking North Slope stage with jammers! Jam Master Hammer played in a sandbox as a kid, inviting all his friends over to play… well… some things are never gonna change… he’s still playing in a sandbox and inviting all his friends to come out and play…and play they did… moving quickly into Steamroller Blues with superb solos all the way around from Rat bass, to ukulele Pete, to sweet electric licks by Alex and Ed and sweet, sweet organ licks by Tom Lambert. Whew, this was a sweet one.

By this time, the room was very crowded with audience and what a great audience it was! The ever-pleasant Jessica was moving at triple-speed at the bar just to stay behind!

Jam Master Hammer then moved into a little “T-Bone Shuffle” and George from America, the man, manning the drums, blew us away with his drum solo… I don’t know what they feed those folks in Burlington, Vermont, but it appeared that this man had definitely been eating his Wheaties! Wow!

Long, tall Gary stepped up to the stage and sang, “Can’t You See.” Another high energy, belt’m out superb performance, obviously folks eat Wheaties in Eagle River, too!

A quick, change it up, with Eli stepping to the stage on the berry-big sax, Jimmy R. on the tiny-fly guitar, and Butch on Gary’s drums. Jam Master Hammer moved into Bob Seger’s, “Turn the Page” featuring Jimmy R. making music-love with his tiny guitar. Wow! Linda, his wife, should have been there… his guitar solo definitely qualified as a “moment of zen.” Jimmy is a wonderfully, visual jammer and we love it when he graces the North Slope with his presence. Jam Master Hammer skillfully lead jammers into his own sweet arrangement of “Summertime” as set two came to a close.

Set three brought Jimmy R. back to the stage with Special Ed, Kyle, Eli, Gary manning his own drums, Pat, Paul, Tom Cuba, and yours truly.

Jam Master Hammer led the band in his favorite Van Morrison tune, “Tupelo Honey.” Matt’s version of this song is as sweet as… well, it’s as sweet as “tupelo honey”… that’s the sweetest honey from the bee. This is really a song about freedom, our nation’s men in granite, and chivalry. It’s one amazing song in so very many ways and a personal favorite.

Special Ed then stepped up, to the mic on center stage and sang that old swingy, swishy, “Flip, Flap, and Fly” song. We’ve adopted Ed next Saturday and we’re taking him to the Valley to play with us at the Mat-Su Resort for their “Third Annual Fifth Anniversary Bash” with a number of bands and music from noon to midnight and beyond… it should be fun! Special Ed, well he’s mighty special, and inspires with his “can do” attitude and love of music. Ed then lead the jammers into his version of “Black Magic Woman.”

A quick-change and it was the two Jimmy’s show; two electrics, two Jimmys, one stage. Wow! Candy slipped up behind the drums, although it was hard to see her behind all the jammers. Candy’s a singer also, but not one jammer knew the chords on the Gretchen Wilson tune she wanted to sing, “Redneck Woman.” Ah, Mike Olson should have been here this night, as I recall, you do know all the chords to this sassy, country tune. Anyway, if you know the song, network with Candy because she has a wanta to sing this song. Texas Jimmy D moved jammers into a sweet, bluezy, shuffly instrumental and into “Next Time You See Me”… Jimmy R. was definitely “Jimmy Jammers” and once again leaving the planet for another moment of zen… Texas Jimmy D. soulfully sang the Texas blues tune, “If You Love Me Like You Say.”

Jam Master Hammer then slipped up to the main stage, Gary reclaimed his drums, and Matt led jammers in “House of the Rising Sun” and his one original tune of the night, “Some Things are Never Gonna Change.” Jimmy D led jammers in a conga song with Candy on maracas as another night of jamming came to a close.

Jam Blog 6-29-06

Where’s Doc’o? The good doctor is packing in Chico, amigos…getting ready to truck on down the highway in an easterly direction…He’s armed with tunes and banjo will travel… hopefully…he’ll soon be truckin….his way on home to the Northland…

Set one began this night with the folk music set with the core band; Jam Master Matt Hammer on acoustic guitar, flute, mando, lead and harmony vocals, Pat Rat on bass, acoustic guitar, and harmony vocals, Paul on harp, Gary on drums, and yours truly on harmony vocals and on an “Angel” of a tune. Cuba joined in on congas. John A. joined the group and sang four classic folk songs. Great job, John A.!

Set two brought a new jammer (and a new instrument) to the North Slope stage, Peter Willard joined the group on ukulele. Alex on electric guitar, Kyle on saxophone, and Cuba, joined Peter and the core band. Matt sang Jimmy Buffett’s, “A Pirate Looks at 40” and Pete astounded us with an absolutely amazing ukulele lick on this tune. Jimmy Buffett would have been proud! There is always something new and different at each and every jam. A little “Tupelo Honey”, “Steamroller Blues” and “Summertime” and set two came to a close.

Another new jammer stepped to the North Slope stage, this jammer had a very familiar face, even though he’d never been here before… a hearty welcome goes out to John Schlomer, our favorite harp players two-minute older brother. Dos Schlomers launched into their own original, two harp harmony piece. What a treat! A special encore to them, any time they want to step to the stage together again.

Set three brought up Special Ed and Jimmy D on electrics, Eli on big, berry sax, Kyle on alto sax, Cuba, Jam Master Hammer and the core band back to the stage. “T-Bone Shuffle” with Matt; “Flip, Flap, Flying” with Ed.

Then it was Happy Birthday time, for Paul, complete with CD player presentation and Happy Birthday to our own, very Special Ed. Ed then sang, “Tell Me What You Need” and then Jimmy D stepped to the mic singing, in his own special Texas way, those sleazy, breezy, bluesy, nasty Chicago tunes… sweet jammin’ by all jammers… a bit’o blue suede shoe music extraordinaire!

Jam Master Hammer claimed the mic to write a song, for Cuba… to write a song, so he could play, to write a song, for the congas, everybody sing along so we can hear Cuba play.…a bit’o Jam Master magic… and… we have it on tape, so you’ll likely hear this original calypso tune again.

Set 4 began with Matt singing the moving Bob Seger tune, “Devil’s and Dust.” Listen to the words on this tune, folks, it will grab you by the throat! On a lighter note, Matt moved jammers and the core band into “Let Your Hair Down, People,” led them into a little protesting, “For What It’s Worth,” and then decided to “Turn the Page.” John A. joined jammers on harmony vocals on “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” as the jam came once again to a sweet close.

Jam Blog 06-22-06

Let there be light…the June 22, 2006, Matt Hammer Jam opened up with Jam Master Hammer and “Doc” Schultz leading the band in, “This Little Light of Mine.” Then the dynamic duo moved the jam into "prinetime" with a John Prine tune times thrice, joined by Pat Rat on bass, Gary Price on drums, Paul Schlomer on harp, Cuba on congas, and yours truly on harmony vocals. The good Doctor launched (and I mean launched) into “Cory”…wow, can the good Doc make that banjo hum or what… m’mm… for those of you who missed it…wow! Another comfy tune, sang to the audience with love, was “In My Heart”… there rings a melody, of love, for you… this duo loves their audience and it shows!

John A., our worried man, who is not so worried these days, joined the group and sang, “Chilly Winds” and “Greenback Dollar.” John looked (and sounded) as relaxed as I’ve ever seen him on the big stage and his sweet tenor vocals were flowing. Great job! The good Doctor then led the band in Matt and Doc’s own special rendition of “MTA”… and set one came to a storybook ending.

Set 1½ immediately began, with Suzy Crosby, solo, stepping onto the main stage. Suzy sang a tune called, “Going to the West” and an original Suzy Crosby tune called, “Montana Border Waltz” which was written about … you guessed it, traveling through Montana. Suzy is a first-timer to the Matt Hammer Jam stage but a seasoned vocalist and musician that is no stranger to the Alaskan music scene. Suzy’s beautifully controlled, melodic voice moved seamlessly through her Montana tune as she yodeled…the tune is a tune I’d like to hear again, and again, and again. Great job! Wow!

Set 2 brought two-fifths of the ‘Doc Schultz and the Last Frontier Band’ to the stage. Loren Arment stepped center stage with Doc, joined by Jam Master Hammer, Gary, Pat, Paul, and Cuba. The group opened up with “Bugler,” a sweet tune about saying good-bye to a sweet, ole dog. Penny Arment then joined the group for a “Fly Away on My Way Back Home” moment. Twenty years of crooked road and these guys still sound great together. Matt and Doc then led the group in “Colonel Vaughan,” a tune they wrote together. Doc put it best, “God bless Norman, wherever he is.”

Then it was story time, with Matt recounting road-kill tales of Doc driving; Doc stopping to buy cookies, Doc selling cookies to Matt for a quarter; Doc stopping to check the oil; Doc driving and selling cookies; Doc stopping to check the air in the tires; with Doc seemingly seeing all things. A porcupine ran across the road right in front of the van and Matt said, “Did you see that?” Doc said, “What, I thought it was a squirrel”… and so it just goes to show that this group can still, after all these years, segway from a tale into a tune… singing once more, with feeling, “It’s Hard and It’s Hard and It’s Harder,” an old Frontier Band classic. Then Doc led jammers quickly into one of his signature Frontier Band songs, “Alligator Man.” Loren then stepped center stage and led jammers in the classic tune by Country Joe McDonald and the Fish, “Save the Whales.” A fun time was had by all on this classic tune revisit. Michelle joined the group on tambourine on “Bring in the Dozers” and set two romped to a close.

Set three began with the electric men onboard, Bob Parsons on electric guitar and “Special” Ed Christensen on his special electric guitar. Loren Arment joined in on acoustic guitar, dos saxophones with Eli and Kyle, and Pat Rat, Matt, Cuba and Paul. They be jammin’ men! Matt sang, “Tupelo Honey” and Ed stepped to the mic on “Flip, Flop, and Fly.” And during this tune, we had the Arment In-Law Family Dancers flip, flopping, flapping and flying at the back of the room. Wow, can those folks cut the rug!

Bob Parsons then moved center stage to treat us to some of his jazzy, bluesy instrumental magic. Alaska’s own Texas Jimmy D stepped to the stage and played sweet licks on “T Bone Shuffle” and played an old Cap Calloway tune and a Freddie King Tune, “What’s Going on.” Chicago bluesman music for sure, for sure. Great electric lick, guys!

Loren and Penny Arment stepped center stage and lead jammers in the Happy Trom tune, “Killing the Blues,” moving seamlessly into Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” and ending the jam with Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” as we all ended the night, happily, comfortably numb.

Special Notice: Where’s Waldo? (In our case, Where’s Doc’o?) Today he’s in sunny Californ i a… Friday, who knows, stay tuned for up-to-date “Where’s Doc’o” updates. ETA for our soon-to-be resident banjo picker…perhaps late August, perhaps September… we’ll keep you posted, hopefully, with the highlights of his m’rvelous adventure, that is, if he doesn’t stop too many times to check the oil, fill the tires, and stay too long one place to sell cookies, and gets snowed in! Ah…ain’t life grand!

Live well, love much, laugh often… and play music!

June 15, 2006 Jam Blog

After a not so brief respite, the rabid blogger returns! Sorry guys, we were having too much fun making music from heather to yon and back (read making music above Fairbanks) to blog…back now and we settled right in to another magic night of music at the North Slope with Dmitri as our guest host jammer…and the “Doc” continues to remain in the house.

Set one started out with John Prine Grammy fare from his new, Grammy-winning CD, “Fair and Square” with Matt and Paul playing the song, “Crazy as a Loon” and then bringing Lona and Doc to the stage for “Long Monday” from that same CD. Sweet, sweet banjo licks from the Doc. Pat Rat is lost in America (read storm over Miami) so Patti Greene joined us on bass and Gary on drums and Cuba on congas for the “Weight” and the jam was off and running one more time.

For all you dart and pool players, new toys were found in our sandbox when we arrived, for before, after, and in between music sets for all you gamers. A little something for every body, well almost.

John A. joined the group for folk classics, “Worried Man,” “Chilly Winds” and to take us on a ride on the “MTA.”

Set 2 began jamming, that is, in the classic words of previous guest host, Lulu Small, “jamming as many people on stage as possible.” With Patti Greene on bass and harmony vocals, Matt on vocals and acoustic guitar, Cuba on congas, Paul on harp, Gary on drums, Tom L on organ, Moe on keyboards, Dmitri on electric, Special Ed on electric, Kyle on sax, and yours truly on harmony vocals, Matt launched into a Van Morrison classic, “Tupelo Honey.” A little bluezy shuffle then followed with some sweet licks by Dmitri and Ed and young Kyle on saxophone. Guest host jammer, Dmitri then stepped to the mike and sang, “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” and “Caledonia. Matt joined the group on flute as Dmitri handily lead jammers into a twelve-bar bluez medley. Randy, a new jammer, joined jammers on harp. Sweetly intense licks from this new jammer. Welcome Randy, hope to see you at the jam again!

Will, the one man show man in black, with the black guitar, came to the stage on the break and sang a few of his original tunes. This was only Will’s fourth time on stage, wow! The crowd enjoyed the energetic, earthy angst that this young jammer brings to the stage.

Set three began, with self-described jammers, “group sax.” No kidding, folks, three saxophones, three saxophone players, all in different registers. What a magical treat this was! Big Eli on the big, baritone sax, Tiny Frannie on the alto sax, and Young Kyle on his classy tenor sax. What fun these three had this night! They were joined by Matt and Gary, Patti, Tom, Moe, Cuba, Dmitri and Jimmy D on electric. Wow, lots o’sax on these tunes. Dmitri launched into “You’re in My Heart” and “You’ve Got to Change Your Evil Ways,” an old Santana Tune.

Then, it was time for Texas Jimmy D. to step to the stage to get into a Jimmy D grove with “Run & Hide,” a classic Chicago Bluez tune… more live rockn’ music with this configuration.

Set 4 brought Patti, Dmitri, Ed, Gary, Cuba, Moe, Paul and Eli to the stage with Special Ed stepping up front and center, singing, “Tell Me What You Need.” Boy, these guys were really a’rockin.’ We even had solid gold dancers… excuse me… I mean solid old dancers (I can say that because it was Matt and me)… what fun we had this night! Patti Greene sang a wonderful melodic tune as she thumped her bass guitar. Wow, soulful words. And Patti had an announcement, she announced, in all seriousness, “This week is weed awareness week.” Hum… anybody weeding their dandelions?

Miss Rachel stepped to the mike and joined jammers for a bit’o her own “Bobby McGee” magic, and the night ended with a little “What’s Up” with jammers rockin’ out overtime.

Next week, a folk hero, Alaskan style, Doc Schultz joins jammers as guest host jammer. Fun, fun for all of you who need to get “folked up” or need a “folk music fix.”

Live long, love much, laugh often… and play music!

June 9, 2006 Jam Blog

Wow, the Doc is here!! Welcome, welcome banjo player extraordinare! Pat Rat has gone to some far corner of the earth and Stu Shulman has joined us on bass. Thank you, Stu for fillin’ in, great job!

The core band began the jam with some classic folk and parrothead tunes. A new song to the stage by Matt, “Long Monday” by John Prine. John A. stepped up for his folk classic set.

Young Will sang the break with his original tune and a Lynard Skynrd classic.

Set two, warmed our hearts with classic tunes, “Tupelo Honey” and “The Weight.”

New jammers again this night with Don “Boondocks” friend, Gary Stevens, stepping to the stage for a little, “Can’t You See.” Wow, what pipes this dude had, great job! Gary came armed with a songbook and lots of tunes to chose and we look forward to seeing him again. Don then stepped to the stage for a little “For What It’s Worth.” Good job, Don! Michelle was helping us out this night on tambourine. Cuba was on congas, John A., Will, Linda, Eli, Moe and Tom L. A little “Summertime” some “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and jammers rocked the house once more!

June 2, 2006 Jam Blog and behind...

Core band: Matt on acoustic guitar and vocals, flute and mando; Pat Rat on harp, bass and vocals; Paul on harp extraordinaire; Gary on drums; and Lona on vocals.

It was a bit of an “animalistic” night, with Animal jamming with us for two consecutive weeks. Wow, Animal, aka Mike E., is a seasoned Alaskan performer, but new to the North Slope Jam Stage. Welcome Animal, we enjoyed making music with you!

We were joined by John A., Cuba, Joe, Ed, Linda, Eli, Kyle, and new jammer Jake. We had “Long Gone Daddy’s” as our professional audience. We had our favorite “Freedom Writer” as another member of our professional audience, not to mention, “pilot car john,” and the lovely Lindas. Brenda anchored the professional audience contingent, camera in hand.

Bob Parsons also joined us as well as Phil Becket, and new jammer and bass player extraordinaire, Rich from New York; also Dean on drums. What fun we had! And then there was Eddie Lee with his original “It’s a Holiday” song and wow, what a harp this guy plays, and a good songwriter, to boot!

We played a few “Dead” songs, however Animal was quick to point out that he was happy not to be gratefully dead. A bit’o comedy this night. Jimmy D sang a nice original tune, too and we had dos saxophones with Kyle and Eli. Butch anchored one of the sets on drums. And there was Will, the North Slope’s own “man in black.”

As always, music fare and jammers are always a surprise but as always, a good time was had by all!!

Live long, love much, laugh often… and play music!

Jam Blog May 18, 2006

Well, the Matt Hammer Jam began, with the core band of Gary, Paul, Pat, Ed, and Jam Host Loren Arment, minus Jam Master Hammer who is out fishin’ in sunny Mexico for the big one. Come on in, sit yourself down, take your shoes off, my friend, sang the man with the human voice… and so another night of jamming begins again. Loren noted that Matt hooked a big Marlin, got it to the boat, and then it got away… “if you believe that one…I have some land I can sell you…” says Loren. A bit’o “Bartender’s Blues” aka Honky Tonk Angel by Jerry Jeff walker. Whew, Special Ed thought that song was enough to give a man saddle sores…

No Matt, who wants to sing, says Loren and with that, Special Ed launches into “Flip, Flap and Fly” adding a tasty lick by young Kyle. Ed knew Kyle, BH (that’s before hat) and when he was several inches shorter. A bit of “It’s All Over Now” by Loren and he’s looking for a joke teller. Cuba steps up to the plate, tells a delightfully animated tale about one happy hound dog… unfortunately, no lo comprendo. A little “Honey Don’t”, a bit o’ “Ripple” with Paul Schlomer shining on harp with a lick that would make the Dead proud. A bit of “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke” and set one came to a close.

Changing it up, Linda, Heather and Pat Rat moved center stage singing, “Knock, Knock Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” “Operator” and “17”. Changing it up again, Loren was joined on stage by the Lovely Miss Penny Lee Arment. “In Spite of Ourselves” a tasty John Prine tune about love a’la Prime and sweet, sweet harmonies by the two on “Summerside of Love.” Terry is playin along on his audience select guitar. Butch joined jammers on Drums, Kyle on Sax, and Tom Lambert on Organ. Penny and Loren launched into, “The Air that I Breathe”. New announcement, kitchen is now open late folks, “Buy food or go hungry,” says Loren. Ed stepped to the mike, singing “All of Me” with his biggest Louis Armstrongish voice… Kyle with a nice lick, Paul in his sun shades with a sweet lick and Loren breaks a string. Penny to the rescue, singing her Marilyn Monroe birthday best for Joe, our birthday boy sound man… and how many birthdays has Joe had this year??? We’ll never tell. Ed sang “Mabeline.” Somewhere Eli and his big baritone sax joined jammers. Loren began searching, searching the audience… for… something… ah, that’s because he was segwaying into “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Now that we’re all relaxed… break time.

Changing it up again for the third set, Ted “the cattail kid” Henderson hit the stage with his big, bad bass and his big bad attitude. Anyone who has ever seen Ted play, loves to watch Ted play, we call him the “Jimmy Rearick of the bass guitar,” such animation the “kid” has and such a love of his music, he writes pretty good songs, too. Gary is back on drums, Kyle on Sax, Paul, Cuba, and Tom. We be jamming now. A bit of “Thunder Road” and “Mustang Sally” with Penny and Moe joining in. “Amy” by request and the cattail stepped to the mike for “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Joe, our stellar sound man, moved to drums. “Play some lounge music, boys” hollers the Arment… and Paul Schlomer steps up the mike, stands tall and plays a loud and proud harmonica solo. As Penny says, “Wow, it’s just like a rabbit jumped out of a rabbit hole” and then he was gone… back into the darkness of the side stage. Felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland for a moment. “Angel from Montgomery” by yours truly and then the boys launched into “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye’ Como’ Va” or as Loren sang it, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah… Penny tells me that’s because Loren’s Spanish is not good. Penny hit center stage running, treating the audience to her own original, “Ride me Down the Highway” aka “Kristin’s Song”… jammers, request this one often, it’s a goodie! “This Could be the Last Time” by Jam Host Arment brought another Matt Hammer Jam to a close. Jam Master Hammer will return on Thursday, with fish tales of Mexico and some more fine music for your Thursday night enjoyment.

Our special thanks to the North Slope and Jessica our stellar bartendress, and our regular audience members, Steve and Linda, Bea, Terry, Linda, the “Weight Boys,” and all of the rest of the cast of usual suspects who have made this jam possible through their support. Thank you!

Live long, love much, laugh often and… play music!

Jam Blog May 11, 2006

Jam Master Hammer opens up another night of jamming at the North Slope with a folk set. Stu Schulman joined jammers as special guest jammer. Core band members were Matt, Pat, Paul, Gary and Lona. John A. took center stage singing and playing his acoustic guitar, bringing us his folk classics.

New jammers a’la the Everly Brothers, Pat Ryan on acoustic guitar and Paul Pasley on bass, moved center stage. Look for these guys in a future North Slope Friday/Saturday night line-up. Great job, guys.

Special Ed moved main stage on electric, Moe moved to Keyboards, Cuba on Congas, Stu, Pat, Paul, and Gary. Matt doing a “Schuffle” and Ed singing, “Flip, Flap, and Fly” and “All of Me.” Rachel joined the jammers and sang “Little By Little, “Bobby McGee” and “Moondance,” with Matt moving to flute. Stu moving to… of all instruments…sitar on “Tupelo Honey”, way to go Stu… this was a unique stellar sitar moment. Tom Lambert slipped in on organ.

Another jammer stepped up main stage, but not a new musician. Rosie Schmidt sang, “Walking After Midnight” and Ray Price’s “For the Goodtimes.” Rosie brought tears to my eyes, “For the Goodtimes” was my mama’s favorite song. Thank you Rosie, what a great job! Schmidty, promises to bring his guitar and jam with us too. Good to see you two!

Pat Rat and Linda moved center stage and played and sang, “Yesterday” and “Killing Me Softly with his Song” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Rachel added some very tasty harmony on Somewhere… very, very nice. I am surprised by something new and different every, single jam night.

We had professional audience members this night with Mark Houle and his friend, Jerry, both promise to come back and treat us.

And yet more new jammers, a father and son team, Dean and Thor, joined the group on dos electrics for some “Steamroller Blues” and the Texas swing tune, “The South is Gonna Do it Again.” “Some Things are Never Gonna Change” with Jam Master Hammer leading the jammers and we changed it up yet again with Jaz, an old jammer from the last millennium back from a long stay in Seattle, stepping center stage to launch into some Grateful Dead for the Deadheads in the audience. Matt joined them on Mando. Jessie, from Tennessee, with borrowed Jaz guitar stepped to the stage and impressed us all with his “Turn the Page” lick, pretty good for a Tennessee boy. We look forward to seeing this musician again. Some Ventures dreamin’ with Phil Beckett and a bit of “Feeling All Right” and the jam once again came to a close.

May 4, 2006 Jam Blog

Hola, it’s Cinco de Mayo minos uno…comprendes?

A big welcome to Dan Henderson, sound man extraordinaire! Dan’s another blast from the past for Matt. We started a bit late due to some fine sound tuning but it was definitely worth the wait!

The core band and Jam Master Hammer sang, “Glory of True Love.” John A. slipped quickly to the stage and sang “Chilly Winds” and “Greenback Dollar.” Loren Arment then stepped up center stage for some sweet Buffett tunes and three part harmony, with Special Ed on electric and Kyle on sax.

Set two brought a new band main stage with one of regular jammers, Phil Beckett. Thank you, Phil, for bringing in new jammers. A hearty welcome goes out to Merle Kidd and Attitude aka Kyle’s Band… don’t ask, I can’t tell you why they’ve got an aka…these cowboy definitely have some kind o’ attitude. First song up, “Tequila Makes Your Clothes Fall Off.” Then the bass player stepped to the mike and sang “Can’t You See.” A bit more Cowboy Country, an instrumental and wow! Great jammin’

Mike Johnson, then stepped center stage, accompanied by Special Ed on electric, Moe on keyboards and the core band. A little rock’n roll, a bit’o “Standing on Shaky Ground,” a dash of “Stormy Monday,” and a fine version of “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay.” Wow, great vocals, Mike!

Missing was our number one jam fans Steve and Linda. Steve, Linda, we miss you!!

Set three brought Jam Master Hammer and the core band back to the stage accompanied by Mr. Arment for a measure of Arment/Hammer magic. A trip to “Tupelo Honey” sang by Jam Master Hammer, Loren Arment singing the sweetest, “Killing the Blues”, then Matt singing, “Turn the Page” and a bit o’ that, “Black Magic Woman,” featuring Special Ed’s extra-special electric licks and Kyle’s magic saxophone. The night ended all too soon with “Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door” with Linda and John A. and Linda’s daughter, and every other jammer who could jam themselves on the stage (by the way, this is Lulu Small’s definition of a “jam session”) What fun we had, let’s do it again next Thursday! Don’t forget, special guest jammer, Stu Schulman, musician extraordinaire in any locale! Y’all come out ya hear!

Live well, love much, laugh often…and play music! lah

April 27, 2006 Jam Blog

Well, this jam started a bit different with Chris and his lonesome acoustic guitar, sittin’ in, auditioning for a gig. A couple of tunes and once again the jam was off…For all you jammers, Pat Osbourne is hiring singles and duos, see Pat at the North Slope for more information.

The core band with Jam Master Hammer on acoustic, Pat Rat on bass, Paul on harp, Gary on drums, and lona on harmony. Cuba joined the core band on congas for a little John Prine and a little Buffett and a’way we go again… John A. sang some of his vintage folk songs. John just keeps getting better and better and is he is definitely more relaxed.

This evening was a WOW evening with us. A Homer moment, a special treat with Lulu Small on electric and lead vocals and Patti “sparkle” Greene on bass, as our guest hosts. As Special Ed was turning Lulu on and Matt’s lighting another cig, Lulu says, “I’m a good candidate for second-hand cancer.” Bud, um, bump! A little “I Feel Fine” with Lulu, accompanied by Special Ed on electric, Patti sparklin’ on bass, Matt, Paul and Cuba.

Lulu recalled 40 acres and the 1979 Harvest Festival where she first saw this skinny man singing “Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” and that was the first time Lulu and Matt met. She recalled, “What a festival, what a harvest, and the best fruit bars in the Valley!” As Patti’s thumping the bass, down the rabbit hole we went with “White Rabbit.” Wow, those vocals, sweet, sweet. Lulu says not worried about getting old, she’s all set, she’s even got her AARP card. Patti started thumping amother bass line and then Lulu slipped into a little blues for Scholmer in the Key of G and Young Kyle stepped to the stage on sax. A little more funky music and the set came to a close.

A short break and Linda and Pat Rat sang their own rendition of “Yesterday.” Keith Junot joined the duo on fiddle while Linda sang, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Give Linda a hand, she’s beginning to sing again after decades of being away from music.

Set two began with Jimmy D on electric, Stu Shulman on something (I think it was the organ), Keith Junot on fiddle, Butch on drums, Moe on keyboards, Cuba, Matt, Kyle, Patti and Lulu. A little “Let Your Hair Down, People” which actually, I’ve been corrected, is a Shuffle in some key.

A little more variety, a bit more blues, spiced with a little comedy, and a bit harmony and this group rocked the night away! A big thank you to our guest jammers, Lulu Small and Patti Greene. And a special thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of our jammers and friends in the audience for continuing to support this jam.

Jam Blog 04-20-06

April 20 brought the stars out. A big welcome to Stu Schulman and Keith Junot. Stu brought out his pedal steel for a special treat! Keith brought out his magic fiddle and his snappy dress shirt for the occasion. Wow!

Matt started off the night with “Glory of True Love” and a couple of Jimmy Buffett tunes. A couple of folk tunes by John A. The new “Chilly Winds” tune John has brought to the stage is a particular treat.

Set two brought Loren Arment to the stage on acoustic, Keith on fiddle, Stu on Pedal Steel, Matt on acoustic, Pat on Bass, Paul on Keyboards, Gary on Drums, Cuba on Congas and Penny on harmony vocals. Moving into the set with “Your Cheating Heart” and then into “Teach your Children,” and into “Beer for My Horses,” done especially for our Freedom Writer, Bill. Thank you, Bill, for all your support! A bit’o “Tupelo Honey” and a “Pirate look at 40” and Special Ed stepped to the stage for “Boys of Summer.” Michelle stepped beside Cuba in her shades and look-a-like leathers to play a little percussion and the group went into “Comfortably Numb.” Wow, that pedal steel on Comfortably Numb…mm’m sweet! A little Marshall Tucker’s “Fire on the Mountain” with Keith Junot burning up that mountain on this one with licks that rivaled a devil going down to Georgia.

Set three brought Texas Jimmy Dee to the stage for some Texas Cowboy swing songs and some smoothy, bluesy instrumental numbers. A little “San Diego Serenade” from Matt and a little “Let Your Hair Down People” aka T-bone Shuffle; a bit of “For What It’s Worth,” a little “Summertime,” a bit of “Turn the Page” with the night ending with Loren and Penny Arment’s sweet rendition of “Killing the Blues,” oh so sweet harmonies on this one, and on those harmonious notes another jammin’ night at the North Slope came to a close.

Jam Blog 04-13-06

April 13, 2006 brought Loren Arment to the stage as guest host. Joined by Matt, Pat Rat, Gary Paul and Cuba the group launched into vintage Arment/Hammer classics and quickly moved into a little folk music with John A.

Set two brought a new solo jammer to the stage. Joshua Paul and his acoustic guitar provided us with his rendition of the poem, the “Cremation of Sam McGee” and a song called “A Little Bit More.” Marty Rainey then stepped to the stage, singing “Ghost Riders,” a Kenny Loggins’ tune, and “Brown-Eyed Girl.” Marty brings his own special brand of humor to the stage. Mark Houle, of Slicker Pickers fame, then came to the stage joined by Moe and Tom Lambert on keyboard and organ. A ride down “Route 66”, a little “Settlin’ into Limbo” and a bit o’ “Wild Nights” brought Penny Lee and Kyle to the stage for some sweet notes.

Set three brought “Special Ed Christiansen” to the stage joined by Texas Jimmy D on electric, Kyle on Sax, Eli on Sax, Tom on Keyboards, Moe, Cuba, Paul, Pat and Loren. Next was a little “Tupelo Honey” and “Steamroller Blues” from Matt. Mike Johnson stepped to the mic for a little “Givin’ it up for Your Love” and another catchy upbeat tune ala “Play that Funky Music” standing on shaky ground. Alex stepped to the stage on electric and Butch swapped Gary for a space behind the drums and Phil Beckett stepped to the stage on electric. “Watch out for the ax wielding rock star wench came booming through a stage mike.” Hum…and who was that mask man who made that comment…and who was that wench? Phil Becket led the group in a jazzy, somewhat bluesy instrumental, and set three came to a close.

Set four saddled up Special Ed on electric, Jimmy D on electric, Loren on acoustic, Moe on Keyboards, Cuba on Congas, Gary on Drums, Penny on vocals, Pat on bass, Paul on Harp, Kyle on Sax for a little “Killin the Blues” and “Comfortably Numb.” Joe Joined the group on drums for “Black Magic Woman” and Jimmy D stepped to the mike on “Tequilla Highway.” We had chick dancers and Rachel began searchin’ for shades for a “Stormy Monday” moment. Matt ended the night with a song about North Slope jammers as another jam came to a close.

We had nine different vocalists on stage, three drummers, five acoustic guitarists, six electric guitar players, four drummers and two keyboard players. Wow! Next week Stu and Keith and the next week Lulu Small and Patti Greene as out guest jammers

Jam Blog 4-6-06

A warm welcome to Patti Greene and Ranger Doug, our guest jam hosts of the night. What a sweet night it was… with all the stars coming out to “sparkle” with our guest hosts. Stay tuned…Alaska’s own, Lulu Small, joins us on April 27th as our second female guest host!

Set one began with Loren Arment on acoustic, Jam Master Hammer on acoustic, guest host Patti Greene on bass, Stu Shulman on the Hammond organ, Paul on harp, Cuba on congas and Gary Price on drums. Loren and Matt brought “Mrs. Robinson” to the big stage once more. A little Jimmy Buffet with some three-part harmony and a bit of John Prine and the jam was off to a running start once more. John A. joined jammers on the big stage singing “Worried Man,” “Greenback Dollar” and “City of New Orleans.” Three-part harmonies and a full band accompanied John this evening and made this a memorable folk set. John retired and Ranger Doug joined the group for Matt’s own rendition of Van Morrison’s “Tupelo Honey.” Jammers then featured Patti singing the blues and Ranger Doug singing “Bad is Bad” and then launching into a JJ Cale song.

Set two brought back Patti Greene to the stage with Stu Shulman moving center stage on electric guitar. Young Kyle joined the group on saxophone, with Special Ed adding his own sweet electric licks to the mix, with Loren Arment on acoustic, Gary Price on drums, Paul Schlomer on harp, Cuba on congas and Tom Lambert of Corsiar fame slipping in on the old Hammond, Matt launched the jammers into “For What it’s Worth.” A bit of The Band music (in our case a big band), Matt launched us into “The Weight” with Stu and Patti blending their voices in the mix. Loren Arment stepped center stage with his rendition of “Killing the Blues.” Sweet, sweet music to all our ears on this Happy Trom favorite. A quick change brought Alaska’s own Texas Jimmy D to the stage on electric, joined by Ranger Doug, Kyle, Matt, Gary and Cuba. A shuffle in D, a jumpy song in the key of “alpha” then Jammers played “Baby What You Want Me to Do” and “Next Time You See Me.” Patti Greene sang her rendition of “Wild Horses.” And wow…for those of you who weren’t there, well you missed it, what a soulful song!

Set three began with jammers “Share the Land” and then launching into “It’s All Over Now” and “Black Magic Woman.” Patti then assured us that she could “steer it into the ditch” and settled into singing Bob Dylan’s “Don’t think Twice It’s All Right.” This one was another treat for those of us in the audience. Rachel joined jammers and sang Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One More Reason.” Patti rounded out the night and lead the group in “Midnight Special.” M’m what a way to end the day!

Live well, love much, laugh often and play music! lah

Jam Blog 3-30-06

Welcome to Spring, everyone enjoying the longer days and sunshine?

Jam night began with Loren Arment and Matt Hammer launching into some Simon and Garfunkel, accompanied by Ed, Pat, and Paul. I joined them for a bit o’ Buffett and then John A. came to the big stage for some classic folk music. John was sporting his new, six-string guitar this night; a first for John, and Loren and Matt joined in with three-part harmony and the rest of the band stayed and accompanied, which added a whole new dimension to John’s tried n’ true folk classics. I slipped to the stage to sing John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” and set one was rounded out with Matt’s first (and only) rock-n-roll tune, “Some Things are Never Gonna Change.”

Set two began with Dean on electric, another new jammer to the North Slope’s big stage, joined by Special Ed on electric, Kyle on Sax, Butch on drums, Alison King on bass, Cuba on Congas and Richard Lee on vocals. Richard sang his version of “The Weight” and a Tom Waits tune and Alison stepped to the microphone to sing her classic Vampirish song. Matt joined them on flute.

A reshuffling of the players, moving Gary onto drums, and Matt to vocals, and me slipping in for harmony, the band launched into Tupelo Honey. Loren Arment joined Matt for some tasty tupelo harmony and then led the band in his sweet, sweet rendition of Happy Trom’s “Killing the Blues.” This is a personal favorite of most of the audience…sweet, sweet harmonies on this classic tune. Matt rounded out the night singing the Bob Seger classic, “Turn the Page” with sweet electric licks by the electric guitar players.

Set three began with a slicker-picker in firm command of his ax. Mark Houle joined the band on electric. Loren stepped to the stage on acoustic guitar, Gary on Drums, Pat on Bass, Kyle on Sax, Paul on harp, Cuba on congas, and me on harmony vocals and launched into “For What It’s Worth.” Matt moved to Mandolin and there was then a little “Fire on the Mountain.” Great job guys! Mark moved to the mic for a trip down “Route 66” with Matt moving to flute. Loren led the band in a little “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke” and Houle stepped to the mic for a little “Wild Nights” with the harmony singers in tow.

Set four was a bit of eclectic magic ranging from Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at 40” to Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.” All jammers joined the group to jam that last song.

Don’t forget, guest host Patti “sparkle” Greene next week accompanied by Ranger Doug. We’re looking forward to this special event. Special welcome to Pat Osbourne at the North Slope. Special welcome back to Linda, fresh back from TDY in the Americas!

Live well, love much, laugh often and… play music! lah

Jam Blog 3-23-06

Hello, hello, a bit under the weather this week, so I’ll no doubt be “less windy” than usual to the delight of some folks.

Spring brought out yet more new jammers and an abundance of bass guitarists/vocalists of the female nature, ala Alison King, Patti Greene and Tammy Judd. Great bass playing ladies, not to mention the great vocals. Another first to our ever evolving jam at the North Slope. Join us on April 6 when Patti Greene brings a bit of her “sparkle” to the North Slope stage as co-guest host jammer with Ranger Doug. Patti will be our first female guest host jammer and we’re all looking forward to this night.

We also had several male electric guitar players/vocalists, including Ranger Doug, Keith Junot, and Ed Christensen. Great electric licks, gentlemen, not to mention the vocals. Butch and Jessie also played some electric licks as well. Phil, we missed you, when we looked for you, you’d slipped away, hopefully you’ll join us to jam and sing another day.

Keith Junot and Ranger Doug were our guest hosts this evening and the night started out with a bit of John Prine, then an Eagles tune, with Keith joining in to make some sweet three-part harmony, and then a little Jimmy Buffett, Matt Hammer style. For a moment at the beginning of the next song, we thought we heard shots, whew, it was a system/guitar problem and after a minute or two of technical difficulties we solved the problem and moved on. In the midst of the confusion, Ranger Doug and Keith moved quickly into “Ring of Fire” and “Boogie Back to Texas” and then I moved quickly into “Angel from Montgomery.”

John A. joined the jammers for some classic folk tunes and the night was once again off to a great start. Some sweet fiddlin’ by Keith Junot on these tunes.

Set two brought Ranger Doug and Keith Junot main stage accompanied by Paul, Cuba, Pat, Moe, Matt and Gary. A little “Good Hearted Woman” and a little “We Don’t Smoke MJ in Muskogee” and “We’re on the Road Again.” A quick change brought Alison to the stage on bass and Keith moving from fiddle electric to electric guitar for, “Sometimes Bad is Bad,” “She Don’t Love Me, She Loves My Automobile,” and young Kyle moved to the stage on sax for “Tupelo Honey.” Nice electric licks from the guest host on this tune.

The break brought Pat Rat to the stage on his classic acoustic guitar and his friend Linda to the stage on vocals to sing, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Keith added some fiddle licks to this acoustic fare. Jessie, a new North Slope Jammer, joined Keith, Kyle, Gary, Pat, Ranger Doug, and Matt for “Let Your Hair Down, People.”

Another quick change brought bass guitarist, Patti Greene to the stage, placed Moe on Keyboards, with Ranger Doug, Gary, Keith, Kyle, and Cuba, with Patti singing her rendition of the Bob Dylan classic, “Don’t Think Twice ‘cause It’s All Right.” Patti then wanted to play “something trashy” because as she said, “trashy is my middle name.” Ah, we beg to differ, but… t’was a trashy tune… she then began walkin’ with that old Nancy Sinatra tune, “These Boots are Made for Walkin”. Great job jammers!

Another quick change for Set 3 brought Ed Christensen center stage to sing and woo us with his sweet electric licks, and Tammy Judd to the stage to play bass and Richard Lee to the stage on Harp. Ranger Doug, Kyle, Gary and Moe accompanied the jammers. Ed sang, “Flip, Flap, and Fly” and pardon my name for this song, if it’s wrong. Great gravelly voice there, Ed, just super! Tammy, another new North Slope jammer, then moved to the mic and sang, “Bit By Bit” and “Hey Bartender.” The jammers rounded out the set with Matt moving to flute and the jammers Santanaing out on “Black Magic Woman.”

Set four brought Butch to the stage on electric guitar, Pat Rat on harp, Matt on Mando, Moe on Keyboards, Ed on Electric, Cuba on Congas, Patty on Bass, and Rachel wo”manned” the vocals. A little “Wild Nights,” “Bobby McGee,” and adding Keith Junot on fiddle for “Stormy Monday” brought this night of jamming to a close.

Thanks to all jammers. If you’re running late and want Matt to save you a spot on the line up, give him a call at 338-8335 or e-mail him the day before; with so many jammers sometimes we miss someone or just plain run out of time for more tunes…

Hats off to our professional audience members, Mike Olsen, Phil Beckett and Jimmy Rearick, love to see y’all jammin; and multiple thank you’s to our faithful audience jam supporters, Steve and Linda, Bea, Sharon, Kyle’s mom, and a big thank you to our soundman, sometimes drummer, Joe.

Remember, live well, love much, laugh often and play music!


Jam Blog March 16, 2006

The March 16 Matt Hammer Jam brought guest host Loren Arment to the stage, sporting a new shirt and a new “ducktapeless” guitar case. Wow! Jamming started immediately with Stu Schulman on bass, Paul on harp, and Cuba on congas. Mr. Rat has gone to America and we were honored to have Stu sit in with us this night on bass. Sweet, sweet!

Since Loren and Matt are both originally from Idaho, they decided to folk the night up and began with some tasty two-part harmonies ala Mrs. Robinson and The Boxer. John A. joined them for some vintage folk music with Worried Man, City of New Orleans and Greenback Dollar. The three-part harmonies on City of New Orleans were sweet and John was as natural as I’ve ever seen him on stage, singing out every word. Great job, John.

Mrs. Penny Arment joined the stage, because she didn’t have to teach on Friday, and she and Loren, as Matt says, are attached at the wrists, ankles and vocal chords. Together Matt, Loren, and Penny brought some of the old Arment/Hammer three-part harmony magic to the stage with Teach Your Children, Helplessly Hoping, Melody on a Mountain Peak and Serum Run.

Set two brought Moe to the stage on keyboards, Ed Christensen on electric guitar, Paul on harp, Stu on bass, Gary on drums, Kyle on sax, and lona on harmony vocals. Matt sang Tupelo Honey, I Love to Sing and Turn the Page.

A quick change brought Dick Headman and Miss Penny to the stage and Matt moved to mandolin as it was time for Killing the Blues and to do a little time in space with the old Byrds tune, Spaceman. A little Fire on the Mountain and then the group became Comfortably Numb , Pink Floyd style. Wow, Miss Penny rocked her soul out on this one. A Happy Birthday song for our terrific bartendress, Sarah, and set two came to a close.

Set three brought King Alison & the Blue Knights to the stage. Bob Parsons was fillin in for their electric guitar player and doing a great job. A little Johnny Be Good ala Reggee style, song by Barry Lee, made us feel like we were in Jamica, maan… then a little rockn’ tune by Steve, a little Ten Times Better original by Alison and ending with a Vampirish song, sung by the Alison in those gorgeous blue suede shoes, I lusted after. Great job guys!

Set four brought superb lefty guitarist, Keith Junot to the stage, don’t know how he does it, but he played that guild upside down and backward. Loren, Keith, Stu and Paul brought us Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, Remember Me, an old Bucky Meadows tune, I believe. Keith tells us that Stu was in Willie’s Band in the mid 70’s playing steel guitar. Keith ended singing a song about memories, which I didn’t quite catch the name of, singing each and every word. Wow!

Kyle, Eli, Lona and Matt slipped up to the stage and launched into Some Things are Never Gonna Change and For What It’s Worth. Dick Headman slipped in behind the drums and Penny joined the group for It’s All Over Now, Black Magic Woman and Share the Land.

A green beer was ordered for Mr. Arment, being it was now St. Patrick’s Day, and the group launched into All I need is the Air that I Breathe and Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. Another night of music over. Next week’s co-guest hosts, Keith Junot and Ranger Doug. Come on out and join us for a night of fun!

Live well, love much, laugh often and play music! lah

March 9, 2006 Jam Blog

Welcome Jammers and Friends:

The Jam brought Jessica back behind the bar from maternity leave with Sarah heading to Anchortown for a concert. Welcome back, Jessica!

The core band started out with a couple of John Prine tunes. John A. is back from sunny Florida and brought us some vintage folk music a’la MTA and Greenback Dollar.

Set two brought Phil Beckett center stage on electric guitar, with Moe on keyboards, Kyle on saxophone, Gary on drums Cuba on congas, Paul on harp and Pat on bass. They started out with a sweet instrumental number. Vedran joined them and they played a couple of Vedran’s original tunes and all too soon it was time to change the stage.

Steve MacCarthy stepped to the big stage with his clever, yet functional, gig bag (a detergent tub), loaded with harps and tunes. Great licks, Mr. MacCarthy! Butch, aka Mr. Metronome, moved to drums, Tom Lambert slipped in on organ, Eli on his big, baritone sax, and JT Wolf stepped to the big stage, leading jammers in an old James Taylor tune and one of his snappy originals. Joe, our sound man, slipped in behind the drums for a song. JT then led the jammers in playing his original tune called “Goodbye.” Whew, good lyrics and great heart in this song! Listen closely the next time JT brings this song to the stage, and then ask him about the meaning behind the words, the song is a true life story that will grab at your heart…

Jam Master Matt Hammer then moved center stage on electric guitar, Phil moved from electric guitar to drums, and Matt brought his own unique version of Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey to the stage for the very first time. Sweet, sweet song.

Set three brought Dmitri to the stage with a stage full of sage jammers. Moe on keyboards, Eli on baritone sax, Kyle on tenor sax, Eric of Killer Rabbit fame on drums (welcome Eric!), Pat on Bass, Paul on Harp, Tom on organ, and Michelle on shakers and tambourine. Rod Masters slipped in for a quick song or two on keyboards. A bit’o blues, a bit of “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” and more rockin’ out throughout this set. A sweet bass solo by the Rat, a sweet flute lick by Matt, and superb keyboards by Ron and Tom. The set ended with a bit’o Van Morrison, Dmitri style.

Set four brought Miss Rachel Rae front stage and center. Joining her were Matt on guitar, Dmitri on electric guitar, Moe on keyboards, Tom on organ, Gary back on drums (after warming up the car for the pup), Cuba on congas, and Pat on bass. What a voice this forest child has, wow; for those of you who are new to the website, come and join us and see what I mean! A bit of “Stormy Monday,” and “What’s Up” and then John A. and I joined the group for a bit of “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” and all too soon another night of jamming at the North Slope was over.

Next week stay tuned for our guest host, Mr. Loren Arment! …and don’t forget to show up, I’ve heard a rumor that there will be a sax swap sometime during this night.

A big thank you to all the jammers, you guys are terrific! We appreciate all your support in making this jam a success!

Live well, love much, laugh often…and play music!


March 2, 2006 Jam Blog

Sad note: Doc Schultz cancelled his trip to Alaska due to illness. Feel better, Doc, we hope to see you soon!

This week’s jam opened up with a little “Glory of True Love” and a bit’o Buffet. Jammers Ed Christiansen and Vedran quickly moved to the stage. Someone remarked from the audience that Vedran was the “Croatian sensation” as he played a few of his original tunes. Loren Arment hit the big stage running, singing “Red Rubber Ball” and the “Tide Rushes In,” a sensitive Moody Blues tune. A Mason/Prophet tune was next, about two men, well hung, aka “Two Hanged Men.” Miss Penny joined the crew as we strung those boys up about eight or nine times…

Set Two started out with a with a wish for Summer with the “Boys of Summer.” Cuba, Kyle, Gary joined the group. Then there was a little “Fire on the Mountain” adding Tom Lambert to the mix. “Share the Land” brought in a second Hammer in harmony, and add Steve playing sweet harp licks on “A Pirate Looks at 40.”

Set Three brought the Bluez Bros to the stage… Bob Parsons, Phil Beckett with the oh so sweet electric licks. Tom Lambert continued to add tasty keyboards to the mix and instrumental sweetness with dos saxophones ala Kyle and Eli… wow, Eli’s face told us he really had a lot of fun. Eli made his first appearance on the North Slope stage this night, wow, Eli we hope you and your alto sax come back again!

Phil brought us his version of New Orleans Ettoufee’ …it was a bit of a Cajun tune…with Beckett vocals, wow, another first!

A little “Loose Gravel” in the room brought JT to the big stage accompanied by Phil, Kyle, Steve and Gary, Pat, Cuba, Tom and soundman Joe. JT brought us his THC Song and another F# Minor original tune aka, “Where You Gonna Go When the Well Runs Dry,” then there was a bit of “Can’t You See” and all too soon Set three came to a close.

Set Four brought jammers Gary, Matt, Loren Ed, Steve, Tom, and Lona to the stage. A little “Weight,” a dash of “Angel,” and around to Rachel with some sweet screamin’ Joplin a la Rachel Rae style on “Bobbie McGee,” a Tracy Chapman, “Give Me One More Reason,” and a final “Shuffle in G” and all to soon another jam night shuffled to an end.

No guest host next week, but stay tuned, guest host Jammer Loren Arment joins us for a mid-March 16 jam…we’ll be buying him green beer after midnight… come on out that night for a wee bit early festive Irish event…

February 23, 2006 North Slope Jam

A special welcome to guest host Stu Schulman, a man of great music, and one of the great Alaskan musicians.

The Jam began with a little John Prine, by request, a little Jimmy Buffett, quickly followed by The Weight in four part harmony. Stu was great filling in that fourth voice, on the fly, and we were jamming; a little Eagles, and the Jam was off to a good start.

Set two brought yet another new band to the North Slope Stage. The band calls themselves, affectionately, ADD… Matt’s wondering whether or not that adds up or if they’re just attending to their deficits… anyway, I digress, besides there were no deficits here. Welcome to Gary on drums, Randy holding down the bottom end on bass, Kevin on acoustic rhythm guitar, Dave on lead guitar, and Ellen adding her luscious vocals made an excellent first impression. Songs were new to the stage also, from “Calling All Angels” by Train, to Brooks & Dunn, to “Passion & Kisses,” to “Rock My World Little Country Girl,” and back around to what the band affectionately refers to as, The Man’s Song, known to the rest of us as George Bentley’s “A Whole Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do.” Great job, ADD, come back and join us again!

Set three opened up with Tom Landers on the Hammond Organ, another new jammer of Corsiar fame; Brandon on drums, Dimitri on electric, Kyle on Sax, Moe on Keyboards, Stu, Matt, Pat, Cuba and Paul. Very tasty playing by Mr. Landers. Sweet! A bit of Bluezy blues, some Van Morrison with Matt moving to flute, and a killer drum solo by Brandon humbled us all. All I can say is “wow.”

Set three brought dos saxophones to the stage. Kyle was joined by Sherman of the Luv Puppets. Mike Wilburn from Carson City, Nevada, happened in and played a little harp. Bob P. joined in on electric playing “Summertime,” “Steamroller” and more sweet blues were some of the selections. Ed Christianson stepped to the stage and played some tasty licks. All the sweet electric licks…wow! Then Sherman parked his saxophone, grabbed a mike and gave us one heck of a soulful rendition of “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.” Again, wow! I never heard him sing that one before!

Rachel, on vocals, and Keith Junot joined the jammers on electric, treating the audience to a little Kris K reinvented by Janis Joplin, and soulfully sang by Rachel. A bit o’ “Stormy Monday,” and a “What’s Up” with licks galore passed all around the bandstand. Jimmy Rearick on electric, Gary on drums, and yours truly, joined the jammers on stage for “Turn the Page,” one of my personal favorites. Sweet, sweet jammin’…sometimes you almost get to leave the planet.

Late night brought Phil Beckett to the big stage on electric and Joe our solid sound guy to the drum set, with Kyle, Pat, Stu. Dimitri led the group on electric and vocals, singing a little “Sympathy for the Devil” and shuffling into a bit o’ “Moondance.” Mike, guitar fiddler on the roof, joined us but needed duck tape so he never made it to the stage, Tre and Ariel slipped in to listen, not to jam, and Terry sat back in the audience with his guitar.

A special thanks to Stu Schulman, our guest jammer, and thank yous to all jammers. Great job! What great jammers! It is wonderful to see new faces and hear new songs being brought to the stage and it’s wonderful to see some jammers come back to play again and again. Wow, sometimes there’s a bit of magic in the air in there! Let’s do it again, next week!

And don’t forget, Special guest jammer, Doc Schultz from Doc Schultz and the Last Frontier Band fame on the North Slope big stage beginning Thursday, at 8:30 p.m.

Jam Blog Feb. 16 2006

February 16th's jam brought out 25 jammers. We saw some new faces and some seasoned North Slope Jammers.

John A anchored the folk set with Dean on the drums. Boy, I love the sound of that 12 string.

After the folk set we moved into some12-bar blues with Demitri and Phil; a double back to country rock with an original flare brought yet another new jammer to the North Slope stage. JT, of the ban “Loose Gravel”, joined us playing his original, “Get High Tonight.” Many, many, catchy words in this tune; great lyric for those of us who can remember the 80’s. Then jammers moved into some country ala Willie Nelson.

Manning the electrics were seven electric guitar players with seven distinctly different styles. Without exception, these guys can play riffs…whew, smokin’ Don’t forget to bring your amps if you’re jammin’ to make sure that an amp is available. Stu and Moe anchored the keyboards, with Stu in firm command of the Hammond organ. What sweetness he nursed from her old chassie. Kyle once again amazed us with his saxophone licks. This young man has wisdom, maturity, and talent beyond his age.

Matt, John, and Steve, played acoustic guitar, while Matt and Tre’ manned the mando. Four bass players, two harp players with solo flute, conga, and fiddle player. Keith Junot, aka “Elvis,” of Gilley’s fame, as always, played excellent fiddle. Sweet, sweet licks from this talented professional musician. There were singers to spare, two of the female persuasion, and seven cowboys, sans the cowboy hats.

Mike Olsen premiered the new Mike Olsen Band tonight, and country-fried us. The surprise of the evening was when Tre’ moved from drums to mando, Butch moved from electric guitar to drums, and Mike launched into his original, “Lucky Man.” What a wonderful, original song that this group brought to the stage. Great mando licks, Tre’; sweet and sensitive.

We had drummers and more drummers, seven plus the congas, not counting our drumming soundman Joe. Sometimes Joe wishes he could set aside the soundman mantle and just drum. And another surprise of the evening? Joe need may need a haircut by next week!

Jam Master Matt brought out a couple of his “own kids” to play. Matt is one of the few men in America who wrote his first rock-in-roll song after turning 50 years young. This tune in Brother Jeff’s words, is a “real toe tapper.” Everyone was able to grab a piece of this jamming tune and rock out.

At least six of the musicians played two or more instruments. And a few of our jammers were from the Mat-Valley, a few from Eagle River, but most drove out on this sloppy night from Anchorage.

Holding down the professional audience contingent was Bea, Steve R, at the bar, Miss Michelle, and Mom sax, to name a few. A special “howdy” goes all the way out to the Lower 48 to Miss Linda, a professional audience member who is away on temporary assignment assisting Hurricane Katrina victims. Linda we miss you! Missing was Eagle River Don this week, guess he was down in the Boondocks.

A special thank you to our newly found "Louisiana" contingent. Brandon, our jam drummer and his friend Joe on bass guitar. Welcome to Alaska, gentlemen, hope y’all stick around for awhile!

Our own “flower child,” aka “Janis Joplin reincarnate,” Alaska’s own Rachel Rae, sang her heart out on Stormy Monday and our night came to a sweet close with Rachel singing a Four Non-Blonde tune and the rest of us jammers rocking out together.

And a thank you to Sarah, our steadfast bartendress, who was, as always, on task, keeping us on track, to Joe for sound, and a big thank you to Bob and Sharon and the rest of the North Slope Crew for supporting live music jam in Eagle River and believing in the vision of this jam.

February 9th brought out an All Star cast of musicians. Whew, what a treat for all! If you weren’t there, you should have been… what great fun…what magic music!

Matt began the night with a Bob Dylan tune. A new drummer joined us, Brandon Cockburn, new to the state, but, wow, what an excellent drummer. The first folksy/bluegrassy set was anchored by John A. John just gets better and better every time he steps to the stage!

Our guest hosts, Keith Junot and Ranger Doug, stepped to the big stage for a little “Workin’ Man Blues,” and “Beer for My Horses.” Ed G. joined in on Keyboard.

Set 2 began with Stu Shuman on keyboards. We had hoped he’d be playing the Hammond organ that sits adjacent to the stage, but alas… it appears to be broken…we’ll see if we can’t chase that problem down… grovel to see if we can’t get it fixed…what a sweet addition that would have been. Patty Green stepped to the stage, with her bass, saying, “I’m just a Hood Ornament on this Machine.” Ah, I beg to differ, Patty “sparkled” with her own unique rendition of Bob Dylan’s, “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right.” Wow! Ranger Doug then sang us a ditty about Whiskey, and Patty sang, “Coming to the River” and the jammers played a beautifully powerful instrumental version of “You Don’t Know Me”… soul food for the music soul! Wow, Stu on keyboards…awesome licks by all.

Set 3 opened up with “King Allison and her Blue Knights.” Welcomes to Dean, Steve, and Ed (aka the blue knights). They tell me that they had so much fun the week before, they came back. That’s what we like to see, happy jammers. Dimitri from Mo’Betta’ Blues fame joined them with Cuba on congas and Paul on harp. A couple of twelve-bar blues and Allison’s originals. We had audience participation with Michelle on tambourine and her friend on the salt shaker…or was that a rice shaker… Steve left the stage and Phil Beckett joined the Blue Knights.

Mo’Betta Blues stepped center stage with Moe on Key Boards and Phil Beckett. A bit of Santana and Keith Junot stepped to the stage with some awesome fiddle licks. More original material and more sweet fiddle licks, wow!

Valley Matt on guitar and Tre on drums, joined the jammers for the fourth set, singing a Tom Petty tune and Jack Johnson’s “Holes to Heaven.” Mike Olsen, sans his cowboy hat, stepped to the stage and sang “Red-Necked (Wo)Man” and “I’m a Fireman”…

We lost a couple of jammers, Butch on electric and Jimmy D on electric before they had a chance to step to the main stage. I understand that these guys are smokin’ lick players, I hope they come back, with 23 jammers sometimes it takes time to work through the players. E-mail Matt that you’re coming, and we can plan ahead for the next time you’re into jammin! Terry, our regular, audience guitar player played some stellar licks, sitting beside the fireplace…

Jimmy Rearick stepped to the stage with his sweet electric magic, joined by Pat Rat, Paul, Ranger Doug, Keith Junot, Moe, and Gary on Drums. Rachel sang her soulful version of “Bobby McGee” and “Give Me One More Reason” by Tracy Chapman. Brandon moved back center stage on his Gretch (drums, not guitar) and Jam Master Matt proceeded to “Turn the Page.” Ranger Doug and Keith played, what I characterize as an “instrumental hoedown,” and Keith brought the night to a close, singing… “and the South’s Gonna Do It Again.” Y’all come back now, ya hear!

February 2nd, brought in our cast regular jammers. Matt opened up with a couple of Bob Dylan tunes. Banjo Dave joined John A. with some fancy banjo licks. Marty Rainey, the “biggest man in the room” then stepped to the stage…inventing such words as “braggadocious” and dustin’ himself off on Matt’s guitar…singing to Sarah, our superb bartendress… and hoping that John and Paul S. will become the “Twin Monicas” and dunn twin berets and cigars, Marty moved quickly into Garden party and Brown-eyed Girl…leave it to Marty to take such a twisted path…

Vederan, a Studio 68 Jammer, moved to the Alaskan stage via Soldotna but originally hails from Croatia… the country across the sea from Italy. Vederan brought us his original, “Totally Amazed with You.”

A newcomer to the North Slope Stage, but a regular player in the Anchorage music scene, “King Allison and the Blue Nights” stepped up to the stage. Moe, Kyle, and Bob Parsons joined them and played, “Jesus Gonna Be Here Soon” and “I Gotta Man Who’s Ten Times Better than You.” They then moved into a bit’o bluez. Bob played his jazzy Santanaish original, aptly named “Latin Blues.” Ooouuu, sweet licks on this instrumental piece. Great song, Bob. We then moved into Matt’s original, “Some Things are Never Gonna Change” and “One More Song.”

The night ended with some “Weight” and a bit’o “Feelin’ All Right” and “Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

January 26, 2006 Jam Blog

Burrr…. it was a dark and subzero night… we arrived early and there were early-bird musicians set up and already playing their instruments…wow…thus begins another night at the North Slope at the Matt Hammer Jam. Hum…could it be that the jammers are going to outnumber the audience this night???

The core band with Matt, Pat “the Rat”, Dick “the hitman” Headman, Paul “Jammin’ Salmon” Schlomer, and “the final wife,” (me) opening up with the Glory of True Love. “Special Ed” moved to the Stage on his special electric guitar and “Conga Cuba” and thus the jammin’ began. “Peaceful Easy Feeling, Son of a Son, and a Pirate Looks at 40”…a bit of tasty harmony began this Eagles, Jimmy Buffett set. John “Worried Man” A, joined us, singing “City of New Orleans,” “MTA” and stretched a little bringing to the stage, for the first time ever, Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.” It’s great to see musicians bringing new tunes to the stage. Good job!

Banjo Dave was hiding out in the audience, but alas no ax…too cold for the ol’ jo, maybe he’ll bring in his banjo on another, somewhat warmer, night.

“Valley Matt” joined the band for a couple of Jack Johnson tunes…boy, those tunes had rhythm…and oh so many words. Moe joined in on Keyboards and then two saxophones, stepped to the stage and did a little tequila ditty, called “Margaritaville.” Again, new tunes coming to the stage and new musicians. This night we all could have done with a little tequila (for medicinal purposes only) just to keep warm. Full house now with “young Kyle” on alto sax and “Luv Puppet” Sherman on tenor sax. Everyone should say congratulations to Sherman, he proudly announced that he got married on January 8, 2006! CONGRATULATIONS! Magic! And the wife, in the audience, smiling… just magic!

The jammers then moved into some steamy Steamroller Blues with Sherman moving to Clarinet. Oh, some sweet licks passed about between Sherman, Kyle, and Special Ed. “Miss Rachel Rae,” natures own forest child, walked in and stepped to the stage just in time for a little “Bobby McGee”… licks a’flying between the ten musicians, our lead songstress left the stage to get a drink and to dance a few bars… wow, another first! She dances just as good as she sings…such fun everyone was having. Rachel moved the jammers quickly into “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman with Paul on a sweet harp lick, Sherman back on that melodic tenor sax and Special Ed holding down licks on electric. I looked up on that stage and two of our jammers had on sun shades… oh, a wish for some summertime… oh well, maybe later…my, my how time flies when you’re having fun.

Keith “fiddleman” Junot and “Ranger Doug” snuck in the back door to see what was happening…alas, no ax…Keith bring your fiddle!! Please…

Another configuration of jammers, with Gary on drums, Ranger Doug on borrowed bass, Kyle, Ed, and Jimmy “jimmers” (pardon my spelling) on electric. Pat Rat moved to harp and a new jammer, Kevin, rounded out the jammers on keyboards. Kevin joins us from a tour with the Air Force Band and “Chill Factor”. Wow, lots of talent in the room this night! Rachel joined us with a little “Stormy Monday” on a cold Thursday, a “Four Non-Blonde Aye, aye, Aye, and “Feeling All Right”, with Dick and myself joining in for a bit o’ harmony. Since we had jammers a’wishin’ for Summertime, in their sassy shades, we only felt it right to move into “Summertime” and, just for fun, we double-timed it at the end. Wow, talk about leaving the planet… Jimmy, whew… smoking that tiny fly…who knew one could get such screamin’ licks from such a tiny, three pound guitar…wow! Kyle, Ed, Kevin… these guys are phenomenal lick players…whew! The jammers continued to play a few more tunes with evermore phenomenal licks!! Michelle joined in on her tambourine.

And all too soon we were almost done and without further adieu we moved into “Knock, Knock, Knockin on Heaven’s Door.” Gina, Kevin’s wife, slipped up to the stage for some harmony notes, and Michelle on her rice shaker, mixin’ it up a bit in the mic… and before we knew it, the jam was over for another week.

Take Note: Keith Junot, “fiddle player extraordinare” and Ranger Doug “bass, guitar…the man with a plan” will take the stage as guest hosts on Thursday, February 9, 2006… could it be that we’ll be country-fried that night… well, you’ll just have to come out and see, mark your calendars and y’all come join us for an extra special night of fun!!

January 19, 2006 Jam Blog

Thursday’s Jam began with the core band of Matt, Dick, Paul, Pat and me, singing out with the “Glory of True Love” and adding Cuba on congas for Jimmy Buffett’s “Son of a Son of a Sailor.” The band moved quickly into John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” and added Kyle on saxophone. John, our 12-string folk guitarist, then moved into the spotlight, singing his version of “Worried Man” and “City of New Orleans.” We rounded out the first set with the core band accompanying John on a rousing version of the old folk classic, “Greenback Dollar.”

Set two began with Lon Lifer from the Valley singing a couple of new, popular, progressive country tunes. Mike joined him on drums and the core band and Kyle helped on “Whiskey Girl,” “My Home Town,” and he moved quickly into “Turn the Page.” Randy joined in on blues harp. With the night being a tad bit treacherous and slippery, Lon assured us that Valley Matt was also on his way, to sign him up, that he was confident that Matt was slip slidin’ our way…

It was time for a protest song with “Boondock Don” joining the band, singing “For What It’s Worth” with the passion of a man who knows how to protest. Valley Matt walked in the door, confirming that he was indeed slip, sliding our way and Jam Master Matt moved to flute, with Randy, on harp, Cuba on congas, Mike on drums. Valley Matt sang an original tune or two and ended the set with two progressive country tunes.

Set three opened up with a “Mo’Betta Blues Band” in command of the stage, featuring the precise licks and vocals of Dimitri. With Kyle on sax, Moe on Keyboards, Cuba on Congas, Dick on Drums, Pat on bass and Paul on harp, the jammers treated the audience to a blues set. “Red Rooster” started the set out moving “Crossroads” and “Sultans of Swing”… tiny dancer Michelle joined the band in her long, exquisite leather fringed coat, her tall white boots, and her tasteful tambourine. This group rocked the house… dancers… there were dancers…

Set four opened up with Valley Matt playing with Ariel on bass, Tre on drums, Randy on harp with Dimitri sitting in on electric and Cuba on congas. Another set of upbeat tempo pop/progressive country tune with a lot of syllables … WOW… Michelle was back again on the big stage, joining the boys on tambourine.

The core band came back to the stage joined by Dimitri, Cuba, and Moe for a rousing version of “Knock, Knock, Knock on Heaven’s Door,” “Steamroller Blues,” and “Let Your Hair Down, People.” Hot licks “Mr. Mo’Betta” played, screaming electric licks. And all too soon, another fun Thursday night jam at the North Slope ended. I applaud all jammers who braved the bad weather to join us…thank you for supporting this North Slope jam!! You guys are terrific!!


The Matt Hammer Band, with Matt, Dick, Pat Rat, Paul, and the miss’s opened up the evening with a “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and the jam quickly began with Cuba from Cuba joining in on Jimmy Buffett’s “Son of a Sailor.”

John A. our worried folk singer has regained his voice this week and moved to the big stage to strum his awesome twelve-string guitar in energetic renditions of folk classics ala “Worried Man,” “MTA,” and “Traveling Man.” Cuba joined in and Matt moved to mando-man, with the core band, sans the missus (that’s me, can’t sing those manly songs because I’m a WOman), provided a tasty background for our second jammer.

Two “Valley Boys,” driving in from the Valley together, signed in and couldn’t decide who would play first so after a rousing round of rock/paper/scissors, Valley Matt won the round and moved center stage with his acoustic guitar. Valley Matt moved into songs ala “Traveling my Life Away” by Eddie Rabbit and a wonderful original song entitled, “The Hill in Our Home Town.” What a beautiful tune! Do you guys want to start a Matt Valley Jam carpool?

Lon then moved to the stage, a man who has songs in his heart, but not sure of the names of the songs he sings. Lon was our other rock/paper/scissors guy. Valley Matt or is that Matt Valley… told me they were Kenny Chesney tunes and there was one rousing Toby Keith tune, that everyone recognized, saluting the “Red, White and Blue” (boot). These tunes got the audience tappin’ their toes.

After a short break we moved into set two with the core Matt Hammer Band being joined by Moe on Keyboards, Special Ed, with his extra special electric guitar, young Kyle on sax and Cuba conga. Matt encouraged folks to “Let Your Hair Down People” with Paul playing some sweet harp licks and then moving into some “Steamroller Blues” featuring Kyle on alto saxophone and Special Ed on that special electric guitar. OHHHH HOT LiCKs!!!

Glancing out in the audience, we had Terry our perennial audience guitarist and professional audience members from the band, “Long Gone Daddy’s.” Tonight was their night to be “students of the gig,” to listen and learn from their fellow musicians. Sarah, Linda and Bea at the bar rounded out Set Two’s professional audience members.

Tim of the Luv Puppets fame and Butch aka “Mr. Metronome” moved to the stage on acoustic guitar and drums. Paul and Matt left the stage. Tim sang, leading the jammers into classic rock up tempo songs with Special Ed playing a screaming electric guitar lick which got so hot that he popped his plug… literally… we had to plug him back in! He was SMOKIN!!! Young Kyle was in extra fine form with the brand new sax microphone that he received for Christmas! Thanks Mom!!! Pat the Rat played a tasty bass solo as the licks were passed all around among the jammers.

And, it goes without saying, that an integral part of the jam is Joe, back in the booth, on sound… great job, Joe… and did I mention he’s one heck of a balancing act… drinks on his head… he is just amazing!! And I am not explaining that remark further, you’ll just have to come out and observe for yourself.

It was kind of a Valley night, with pieces and parts of the Mike Olson Band, moving quickly to the stage, a band of Mat Valley acclaim… Welcomes go out to Mike on electric guitar, Mike #2 on electric guitar and electric vocals, Trey back on drums (Trey, we insist that you plug in your mandolin at the next jam) with Pat, Matt, Paul and Cuba joining in. Our ten gallon hat cowboy, aka Mike #2, led the jammers into rousing renditions of “I’m a Fireman, Yes I Am,” Gretchen’s Wilson’s “Redneck [Wo] Man,” slightly revised, and “Chang-a-lang, a-lang, Keep Your Hands to Yourself” or something like that. Mike on that big blue electric on “Give Me Three Steps”…whew, smoking… and the other Mike…the Johnson… smoking hot licks. Great job guys!! Mike tells us he’s planning to come back with his whole band at a future jam. KEWLLL!!!

We then moved the core band center stage, adding electric Ed, Moe, and yours truly and we moved into our own version of The Band’s, “The Weight,” a long-gone classic rock tune, recently reinvented into a television commercial. With Pat “Chazy Chestering” and Dick singing, “Go Down Miss Moses”… and Matt “Feeling ‘bout half past dead and catching those cannon balls…and all singing, in four-part harmony…“Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free, take a load off fanny and, and, and…and… put the load right on me.” Then we moved into “Angel from Montgomery,”a tune I dedicate to “women with history” (read between the lines you guys)… such as myself… the song begins… “I am an old woman”… Great licks by all jammers… and I appreciate the support. We then moved into the bluesy rocking chair tune by JJ Cale, “Crazy Mamma,” featuring the vocals of core band drum master, Dick Hedman. Oh…sweet licks by all of the jammers… heady vocals by Mr. Hedman. Moving into the up tempo original tune called, “Never Gonna Change,” written by Jam Master Hammer, with Kris and Nick vying for drumming rights, with Nick being the faster stage runner…we rocked out on this tune… us old folks were all out of breath by the end. Kris tells us that he plays “everything”… guitar, bass, drums… he’s promised to come back and showcase his talents at a future jam.

Then it was onto yet another Capricorn birthday song for audience member Nick. HAppY BirTHdaY, NiCK!!

The night came quickly coming to a close with more jammers continuing to sneak in. CC slipped in, but didn’t sign in to sing… yet another professional audience member sitting in...

Ms. Rachel Rae, a tiny “forest child,” with a HUGE voice, moved center stage!! Rachel joined the jammers and lent her sultry vocals to a Schuffle in G, “Moondance” and an Aye, aye, yeih, Four Non-Blondes song. (Should have given me advanced warning, I’d have dyed my hair or left it undyed) …Anyway, I digress… what magically, mysterious, sultry vocals from this tiny forest child. A mysterious, man in black, drummer joined the jammers as we played one last song…WoW… what a way to end the night…

Matt's Birthday Jam

The first jam of 2006 was a birthday jam in honor of Jam Master Hammer. He reports that he’s the big 4-5 or is that 5-4… well…you’ll just have to ask him at the next jam session. In all we had 22 musicians/vocalists and at least nine different jam configurations, so many different configurations, I couldn’t keep track. T’was a busy night.

First up was the core band, Matt, Dick, Paul, P Rat, and me. We started out with John Prine’s “Glory of True Love” because true love is glorious. We followed up with an Eagles tune, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and moved to the islands with Jimmy Buffett’s “Son of a Sailor.” We then sang a new song for the band, “The Weight”… and we put the load right on… We rounded out the core band introduction with one of Matt’s originals, “Fooling Myself’ soon to be released on the CD “Lovesongs.” John A., our worried man folk jammer found himself without voice and became photographer extraordinaire for the evening. Thanks John, hope your voice returns by the next jam.

Loren and Penny arrived and the second configuration happened as we shimmy-shuffled “Special Electric Ed” to the stage and Moe and Moe’s keyboards. Cuba and Bo continued to man the congas and maracas. A little “Red Rubber Ball” featuring the surperb harmonies of Loren and Matt, Penny joined them for a song about two men well hung, (actually that’s “Two Hangmen”), and moved quickly on into a rousing rendition of Pure Prairie League’s, “Amy,” with a superb electric lick from “Special Ed,” then onto “Sylvia’s Mother” with one faithful supporter scurrying quickly off to the bathroom…and she knows who she is… Mando Jack joined the group, with his homemade, handcarved beautiful mandolin for a little “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette.” Steamin’ mando licks from this jammer who had traveled from the Lower 48 to join us. Young Kyle on saxophone stepped up to the stage, as Loren “Killed the Blues”… marvelous three-part harmonies by Loren, Matt and Penny and great licks by “Special Ed” and “The Kid”…

Yet another configuration with a Mo’Betta’ Blues flare ala Dimitri on electric guitar, Bob Parsons on electric guitar, Butch on drums with Paul on blues harp, P Rat on Bass, Boo and Cuba on the congas. We were in long, lonesome twelve-bar blues heaven… with Dimitri and Bob playing some excellent bluesy licks. Matt joined these magic blues brothers on flute.

And then we moved on to the birthday event… the blowing out of those 54 candles (or was that 45)… oh well, who’s counting… it was almost a fire hazard. One jammer suggested a fire extinguisher might have been a most appropriate gift. And with “Millie and Vinnillie” a rousing happy birthday was sung and lip sung and sung again with the entire audience joining in.

Jimmy “screaming licks” Rearick stepped the stage and Kyle, P Rat, Ed, Loren, Bob, Matt and myself, moved into protest mode with “Something’s Happening Here,” we then “Turned the Page.” What sweet, screaming “Jimmy Licks” on Turn the Page! Penny joined the group for a little “Let Your Hair Down People.”

The night ended with a wish for a little “Summertime,” with Donna and Penny providing vocal amusement and the electric guitar players on stage playing some awesomely excellent licks. My thanks to all the jammers as well as my thanks to our supportive audience. Loren Arment said it best… “we love you, man!” Y’all come back soon, ya hear!

Hello and Happy New Year!!

The last Matt Hammer Jam of 2005, held on December 29, was an astonishing celebration of diversity!

The core band, Matt, Dick, Paul, Spike T, and me opened up with tried and true John Prine, Eagles and Jimmy Buffett. I, myself, with knees-a-knocking, took a bash at singing John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery”. Who said you can’t teach an old woman new tricks?

The Jam quickly moved into classic folk music with John Alexandroff singing. John finished up with a heartfelt rendition of Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans”.

Then it was time to reset the stage for “A Party of Five,” drummer Dick’s “other band.” With Ron the “master” of the keyboards and the rest of the party five players, they moved into primetime with some screaming dance tunes, ala “Respect, Takin’ It to the Streets, You’re No Good”. Wow, what a set of pipes Betty has, as she soulfully wailed “Respect,” not to mention the fact that everyone in this band sings, whether it be a tasty harmony or dynamite lead. Great job, jammers Five!

Another Chinese fire drill moment happened with the core band returning, adding young Kyle on saxophone, young Mykhal on electric guitar, and mature Moe on keyboards. It was time to “Let Your Hair Down People” and for Matt to do a little “Steamroller Blues” and “Some Things are Never Gonna Change.” Soulful sax licks and great electric guitar with Moe filling in the holes with some tasty ivory tinkling…

Then yet another change, with the Air Force’s own, “Long Gone Daddys,” singing their “rock-a-billy” hearts out. Wow, what presence these guys have. Betty also joined them on a tune. It’s great having jammers join other jammers, magic moments!

And then there was Donna, a shy woman sitting in the back of the room, desiring to sing Patsy Cline’s “Crazy.” Gathering up Frank and Rod and a few of the other super jammers, Donna, another first-time jammer to the North Slope stage, sang her rousing rendition of “Crazy.” Rod (keyboard) and Frank (guitar) then gave us a little “Brown-Eyed Girl” and rounded out the set with some magic “Moondance”. Jam Master Hammer retired his guitar and played a moondance flute and a brown-eyed mando. Fabulous licks, fabulous vocals, what a fun night!

Frank and Nome started the next set with some classic country tunes ala vintage Hank Williams. Frank moved to drums, Kyle joined them on sax and Moe joined on keyboards. Nome played a fire-engine red Gretch electric guitar… wow, clean licks and pretty, pretty guitar!

The night ended with the core band returning with; Kyle, Betty, Moe and Pat the Rat, joining in “Knock, Knock, Knocking on Heaven’s Door”…hot stage, good food, good drink, good friends, making magic music… y’all come out and join us when you can, ya’hear…. lah