On Jan. 3rd, I'll be starting a new weekly beginner bluegrass jam at Revitalize Juice Bar in the Pioneer Building (6th and Main downtown Boise) on Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 9pm.
How The Beginner Jam Works: Song and Key Selection
For the first phase of the new beginner jam, we shall, for the first half of the night, play only songs on the 'Main List' and only in the keys specified for each song on that list (see the attachments). In this phase of the new beginner jam, I'll lead the singing on all songs called during the first half of the evening.
For the second half of the night, people are welcome to call and lead the singing on any beginner-friendly bluegrass or quasi-bluegrass songs that they would like to play at the jam, and with most of the key restrictions removed, including for songs that are on the main list. For the person leading the singing on a song ought to choose a key for that song that suits his or her voice for bluegrass-style singing.
The Beginner Jam Handouts
To help give a clearer idea of what kinds of songs will tend to work well at the beginner jam in its initial phase, I have attached here, in addition to the Main List, another list of songs titled 'Additional Songs'.
On this list, there are a number of songs that are more associated with genres of music other than bluegrass, but which lend themselves well to being played as bluegrass songs, and most of these are well-known both inside and outside of bluegrass circles. I have also included some songs on the additional songs list that are virtually unknown outside bluegrass circles for those who might prefer to take the approach of finding specifically bluegrass songs appropriate to introduce into the new beginner jam rather than songs already familiar from other genres. But most of the songs on the list fall somewhere between these two ends of the spectrum.
Also included in the attachments are two other handouts for the new beginner jam: a chart of 'Basic Chord Progressions' that the song lists are keyed to, and a handout titled 'Nashville Number System Charts' in which the number names of the chords are translated into letter names for each of the keys that songs will be played in at the jam. Additionally, I have also included an explanation of the handouts in the attachments.
Have a happy New Year!