The 23rd Warren Haynes Xmas Jam: Who’s Who — Watch, Look, Listen and Read
There were a lot of big names headlining the Asheville Civic Center at last night’s 23rd Annual Christmas Jam, and if you weren’t keeping up with the scene, the lineup was probably more of a guilt trip of people you should know, but you’ve only heard in musical passing. Don’t worry if you suffered from proper-noun overload. Xpress is here to help, pictures, video and streams included.
Kevn Kinney was a relative newcomer in the Jam’s lineup. He’s the frontman of hard southern rockers Drivin’ ‘N’ Cryin’ and his 2000 solo album, The Flower and the Knife, was produced by Warren Haynes. After Haynes came out and opened with an acoustic cover of Van Morrison’s “
Bela Fleck is considered the pioneer of the jazz banjo. His set had perhaps the most star-studded lineup of the night, including Jimmy Herring, lead guitarist for Widespread Panic, Bill Evans, known for playing tenor saxophone with Miles Davis, Casey Driessen, a bluegrass fiddler whose 2006 3D landed a Grammy nomination, and the young but determinately talented Steve Bailey-protege, bassist Taylor Lee.
Los Lobos was a little more straightforward in the proper nouns department. In 1978, the group released Just Another Band From East L.A. and has spent the last 30 years proving that they are anything but. “Revolution” was a clear standout, with bassist Conrad Lozano’s riffage driving a soulful jam. The band finished its set with Warren Haynes covering Grateful Dead’s “Bertha”.
Phil Lesh was the bass player for the Grateful Dead. ‘Nuff said. He currently tours as the leader of Phil Lesh and Friends, an amorphous Grateful Dead tribute band that Warren Haynes is at least temporarily a member of.
Gov’t Mule is Warren Haynes’ band. Formed in the mid-’90s as an Allman Brothers Band side project with Allen Woody, the band is currently Danny Louis on keyboards, Jorgen Carlsson on bass, Matt Abts on drums, and of course, Haynes on lead vocals and guitar. This was the highlight for Haynes fans, and as the first performance since June as Gov’t Mule, a nice return of one of today’s most prominent Southern jam bands. Later in the set — pushing on 2:30 a.m. — Bill Evans and Phil Lesh came out to play an 18-minute cover of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.” Immediately following, Evans and Lesh were replaced by Jimmy Herring for a cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.” Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough room for Herring to fit in a decent solo, and he was left strumming for a majority of the track.
FROM DEAD CENTER
What’s this antennae array doing in the middle of my concert floor?
Carringnton Crawford, Lynchburg, VA, and Heather Kelly, Nashville, TN
MX: How did you get started taping shows?
Crawford:Trading tapes in high school, [Grateful] Dead tapes. Then, we were just trading Maxell 90 meter cassette tapes.
MX: What gear are you using to record the show?
Crawford:I’m running a stereo channel, two Schoeps hypercard mics, into an Odie Brothers 2408 preamp, into a Sony M1 deck. It’s pretty good. The deck is a pocket deck, it’s small, so it doesn’t have balanced inputs, but other than that, it’s fine.
MX: What do you do with your recordings after shows?
Crawford:I put it up on a site called http://bt.etree.org/, which is just a peer-to-peer, taper-allowed site to share the music. It’s fun, you know, you get the bug.
MX: Why do you go to so many shows?
Kelly: We’re always among friends. It’s a good time. We tend to travel in the same circles.
Crawford: Yeah, you get to know everybody. We haven’t seen each other in a year in a half. Then we come back here and it’s just like yesterday.
Kelly: I just saw him, and I said, ‘Carrington!’ And we’ve been sitting here ever since. It’s nice. When you start going to enough shows, you start seeing the same faces and you start making friends. It becomes a big community.
Listen to a stream of Gov’t Mule live from 2011’s Christmas Jam.
Z-Man, the self-proclaimed “world record holder for most concerts ever attended” and “most DAT tapes recorded on.” You can check out Z-Man’s old concert diary blog here.
MX: Why do you record these shows?
Z-Man: We share it with whoever wants it. We all trade tapes. These musicians are fantastic, what they do for a living, and put music out for us — it’s a wonderful thing. It keeps us coming back for more and we share the music with other music fans, and it promotes the music actually. Somebody could get a hold of a recording that one of us did, say, from 500 miles away, and they listen to it and say, ‘Wow, this band is coming to Chicago next week — let’s go buy tickets.’ It helps the bands out tremendously. That’s why the bands are so taper-friendly. Warren Haynes and all the bands he’s been in are all taper-friendly.
MX: How many shows do you think you’ve been to?
Z-Man: Thousands maybe? I do 150, 200 a year. Like I said, it’s a hobby and I love it. It’s an expensive hobby — it’s not just the equipment your using, you got to get on a plane and fly somewhere, got to stay in hotels. You got to rent cars.
MX: What do you think of the Christmas Jam so far? How was Los Lobos? Have you seen them before? How did tonight’s show compare?
Z-Man: This is one of the years that there has not been a weak link in the whole thing. Sometimes you go to a show here — I’ve been doing it for the last 14, 15 years, every year—you say, ‘you know, I could have done without this set from so and so,’ but tonight, they’re all top notch. We all feel that.
Los Lobos, I’ve taped them quite a bit actually. I’m friend with their archivist, and he knows I get the stuff done and I upload it for him when I need to. He always gets me passes to dead center, in a small theater or something like that. I did their record release party last September.
It’s a hard question, because normally, you go to a Los Lobos show and you’re going to get an hour and half to two hours of in your face, kick ass music, where tonight we got about 45-50 minutes just because of the structure of the program. I would have loved to seen another hour.
Listen to a stream of Phil Lesh And Friends live from 2011’s Christmas Jam.
Looking for more videos? YouTube user rohbear4 has around 30 currently unlabeled videos from the Jam on his channel.
Setlist via Mule.net
And It Stoned Me
Kevn Kinney & The Christmas Family Band
Never Gonna Change
Ain’t Waiting on Tomorrow
Breathe / Rocket Man
I’ve Got A Feeling
Bela Fleck/Jeff Sipe (with Jimmy Herring, Bill Evans, Taylor Lee & Casey Driessen)
Don’t Worry Baby
Venganza de Los Pelados
I Walk Alone
Bertha with Warren Haynes
Phil Lesh & Friends (Warren Haynes, Jackie Greene, Jeff Chimenti & Jay Russo)
Viola Lee Blues
Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)
Viola Lee Blues
China Cat Sunflower
I Know You Rider
She Said, She Said
The Other One with Jimmy Herring
Sugaree with Jimmy Herring
Banks Of The Deep End
Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys with Bill Evans & Phil Lesh
Dear Prudence with Jimmy Herring
Inside Outside Woman Blues
When The Music’s Over