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The day of this jam, May 30, is my beautiful daughter's birthday, and just as each jam has its unique origin, this day also marks a new beginning for Shane and her family. She will always be that little girl on St. James Avenue in Tennessee. Happy birthday and a bright new future, dear daughter.
The Ocoee Parking Lot Bluegrass Jam is a well-established, open jam and has welcomed pickers of all skill levels for over twenty years behind the Pizza Hut at 10870 West Colonial Drive, Ocoee, Florida 34761. The area is about 10 miles West of Orlando. People of all ages and backgrounds enjoy the Jams. It's very much a place for families, young couples, retirees, children, pets, and tourists who make it one of their stops because they have seen the videos in England, New Hampshire, or wherever. Weather permitting, the Jams begin every Friday evening at 6:30.
Every Jam has its unique characteristics, its own "personality." This one was exceptional in the contribution of each picker. Everyone was an absolute necessity. Remove one of these gentlemen, and you lose the essence of this jam. These fellows have a rapport musically and personally. Each brings the best out of the other. There's humor, friendly competition, experimentation, and just plain fun.
Jams function based on a rotation to offer each picker in the circle the opportunity to decide and perform the next song with the backing of the total group. Sometimes it's helpful for one person to act as facilitator. For many years this jam has been fortunate to have several core members who keep the music flowing and assure everyone an opportunity to participate. They are experienced pickers and fine musicians. You'll see them here: Jack Lewis (banjo, vocals), Gerald Creed (guitar, vocals). They, along with other expert pickers: Bill Phillips (guitar, high-lonesome tenor), Bill Miller (double bass, vocals), Jerry Jernigan (guitar, vocals), Russell White (guitar, vocals), Derek Deakins, (fiddle, vocals), Jim Bollinger (mandolin, vocals), and "Ray" (guitar) add depth and quality and keep the jam moving.
While there is some outstanding talent among the musicians you see here, this is still an "open" jam, meaning everyone is welcome to seriously participate. It is a great place for mentoring and learning. Pickers often stick around after the jam to exchange ideas and teach each other.
Please let me know the counter number, and I will research any song title for you. I have never been proficient enough to keep track of songs decided on the fly and concentrate on video at the same time.
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