[Harp-L] Blues jams -- try the local blues society

One of most neglected  topics on this list is the local blues society. Worried about bars that don't play backup bands? And jams that only let the invited pros play? Find a blues society or start one. 

In Detroit, a bunch of people formed the Detroit Country & Classic Blues Society in the 1980s. It was so-named because somebody had a bar or something else using the name Detroit Blues Society at the time. The other reason was that the club put the emphasis on acoustic blues, which are also known as country blues. This contrasts with city blues or electric blues. Nowadays the group is known as the Detroit Blues Society -- I know because I saw the group's banner at a bar-concert hall recently.

The group used to meet in a room at the Detroit Unitarian church on Sunday afternoon. A great time for a club meeting except they met at 1 p.m. and I started work at 3 p.m. so I would show up, hang around for about and hour and take off for work. Later on they met in a local bar on Sunday afternoons. Somewhere along the line my shift changed and I stopped attending. But I learned about Blues Week at the Augusta Workshops at Davis & Ekins College, W.Va. and attended for seven years until 1995 when the Detroit Newspaper Strike started and I was out of a job for 2 1/2 years.

The blues society  usually had a workshop and later on they always had a jam. I always attended the workshops but left for work before the jams started. People got a chance to sign up for the jam early in the evening-- guitarists, harpists, singers, whatever and everybody got a chance. At least I never heard any complaints. 

And the backup players at the society were often local professionals and teachers like Rich Del Grosso and Robert Jones and some others who had day jobs but great chops.

Phil Lloyd

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