Old Time Music Jam to begin 2019 sessions Sunday

Gathered in a circle, one person starts with a few notes, three, maybe four. Then, another person joins in with their own addition, and then another. Soon, everyone in the circle is playing together, creating their own music just like their ancestors before them.

After having to cancel January’s session, musician Art Lang said they will be bringing back their Old Time Music Jam event Sunday, Feb. 24.

Lang said the event is more than a decade old, though it has changed location several times before.

“I and another friend started doing it about 11 to 12 years ago,” he said. “We came up here to do our jam sessions about five years ago.”

Since they started, Lang said they perform a wide variety of “traditional” style music, including string band, Celtic, gospel, folk music and more.

He said the event is not a teaching session. Rather, it is meant to be a place where people can share their love of music with one another, either by performing along with them or by simply listening.

“Everybody is welcome,” he said. “Anyone who wants to play can play.”

He said normally, everyone gathers in a circle. Lang will start by playing a few notes, and then the next person can play based off of those notes. This continues around the circle until everyone is creating music together.

Though Lang said he prefers old-time music, he said most kinds of music is acceptable in the group.

“If someone wants to play bluegrass, they can,” he said. “No one ever complains about the music people end up playing.”

The only restrictions the group places on the music are those against music that is overly political or has excessive swearing in it.

He said the overall goal of the monthly event is to get people involved with music and what the musicians do, as opposed to what they might hear from other sources.

“Most people are only familiar with what they hear on the radio,” Lang said.

He said no one in the group is a professional musician of any sort. Rather, Lang said the group of between six and 10 people gather simply for their love of music.

The Old Time Music Jam will take place from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Sycamore Shoals State Park.

“Feel free to bring a recording device for learning later,” Lang said. “We can play music that is listenable. We normally play music in the major scales.”

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