Dave and Paulette Lucas host a psaltery jam at their cabin at Tannehill Ironworks State Park near Birmingham, AL. It is usually the last Saturday of the month, they also give lessons and are willing to play other times they are there. Check out their web-site for a new schedule. Other acoustic instruments are welcome to play along.


Richard switzer

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Thanks Richard for telling us about Dave and Paulette's Jam. Would love to go down for their BP Festival as well. We also have Jams on Wednesdays, all day workshops and Jam in evening. Also on Sunday afternoons 3:30 to 6:00, both at Tamarack in Beckley, WV. If in the area traveling through stop in and play along. All instruments welcome.
I play with the Falmouth Fiddlers, in Massachusetts. I'm the only psaltery player so far, and some of those fiddle tunes are awesomely fast, but I'm a full partner on the waltzes.

I was just up in MA in August. I have a sister and my mother in Acton and another sister in Bedford, NH. I had a couple of Rick Long psalteries with me and would have enjoyed getting together to play. I play along with a couple of dulcimer clubs in D or sometimes they re-tune to C, which makes it easier for me. I can't imagine playing along with fiddles, my wife plays one and I don't even try.

The next time I get a chance to go to MA I'll contact you and maybe we can meet. My wife plays a dulcimer also and she enjoys playing along in C with the psalteries.

Hi Fran, send some pics, or video or audio if you can! That's so great that you are playing with them.
I've never been to a jam session and don't know if there are any near me. (Possibly there are on the mainland). But, I have a question. From the video clips I've seen, it seems that most songs are either Christian, Scottish or Irish, and American folk tunes. Except for a couple Scottish and Irish songs, I don't play any of those genres. Are these songs typical of most jam sessions? Just wondering! :)
Yeah, you nailed it Ziva. North America has Christian/Celtic music riding a wave of popularity. People forget that the melody for Amazing Grace probably came from Africa, that the roots of our string instruments are in Iran, and that the biblical references to the predecessors of our psalteries were middle-eastern and pre-Christian.

I'm big on the much wider, almost all-inclusive genre known as "world music". It stretches through time as much as across borders, so maybe I'd say "timeless world music". They're doin' it in the cities, but isolated up-country locations like where you're at can make it hard to find jalapenio jellies and Moroccan jams.

On the other hand, you're almost close enough to Seattle to hear a shawm being played there. I hear there's tons of all kinds of acoustic music there. There must be some spill-over out to your area. Maybe a traditional music network where somebody may have broken out of the jigs-and-reels box, graduated from the singer-songwriter niche, realized that there's a world out there beyond pub sessions. For starters, is there a synagogue where somebody likes to sing?

What kinds of music are you interested in?
I think "world music" would be the best description of my musical interest, but I'm partial to the Middle Eastern sound. I like the fusion of modern and ancient mix. Difficult to describe---but it's popular in the M.E.

I like your description of music that "stretches through time as much as across borders", and "timeless world music". That's perfect!

You know about Moroccan jam??? I may be isolated, but at least I DO have that! (My best friend sends it to me----homemade. Best in the world!)

When I saw the word "shawm" in your post, I automatically thought of swarma, instead of the horn. I must be hungry :D

I know Seattle has alot of acoustic world music, (but Celtic still seems to reign). I don't have a car, and the buses back to the dock don't run late enough, but I will search harder for a solution to that.

Meanwhile, I have my psalteries, an amp on the way, and alot of world music to play along with, so I'll just create a one-person jam session :D

And, the synagogue I go to just has a guitar players but EVERYONE likes to sing----in Hebrew. It's great!
Ziva, I have a friend (Dari, another member as well) who lives in Pt Townsend which she says is a little over an hour from you. She and her husband have several CDs available on CD baby (link is posted below). The music they play is definitely new age/fusion with influences from around the world. They don't lean so much towards the traditional American and Celtic, but it's there as well.
I don't know if she ever has time for jams but I'll give her a nudge to jump into this thread. Her husband does a lot of work with other artists and has an interesting repertoire outide of their work together. They definitely satisfy my new age and world music side.
I have a lot of their music. Castles and Cobblestone and Chantilly Mae include a lot of bowed psaltery and are excellent CDs.
They are wonderful people too! a bonus : )
I noticed that when I joined, a member from Port Townsend!! :)

But I didn't try to contact her because they're professionals and very busy I'm sure! I've heard their music and it is WONDERFUL! I would be waaaaaaaay too embarrassed to jam with them------I am waaaaaaaaay beneath their musical talent. It would be like a kindergartner (me) playing with Ph.Ds!! :)

I would love to meet them though and, if possible, have Dari try my wound string psaltery. Since she is a professional I'd know for sure if there is a problem with the psaltery, or just me!

(The Port Townsend/Keystone ferry gets real cranky in the winter and can't make the trip sometimes due to weather/ocean conditions) Poor little boat......

But, I'd love to meet them whenever their schedule allows :)
I'll get in touch with her later today. I expect time is a problem more than anything else. She's very sweet and I don't think she cares about your level of playing. She's been playing the bowed psaltery for a while and would be a great resource and I suspect she would be happy to give you some pointers.
This past summer I taught a class for Bowed Psaltery that I showed how to "Join The Jam". The Bowed Psaltery doesn't always have to play the melody. When they are playing one of those really fast fiddle tunes don't even try to keep up with the melody. You can't compete with a fast fiddle. Some maybe, but anyway, if you know what key the tune is in then drone on the "Root Note of the Chord". Let's use the key of C as an example.
C scale: C D E F G A B C Chords that are primarily used in the Key of C are the 1st ( C )
4th ( F ) and 5th ( G ). Tune starts in the C chord and then when you hear something change it will either be the F or G chord. You have a 50/50 chance of getting it right. I am just kidding there is so much more to this but I have tried to simplify the process.
Let's look at the D scale: D E F G A B C D again you use the 1st, 4th and 5th notes to find the chords used in this key. 1st ( D ) 4th ( G ) and 5th ( A ).
Next time you are in a jam of any kind of music, ask what key the song or tune is in and then drone away. Hearing the BP drone above the melody is so much more exciting then hearing a BP not keeping up on the melody. Give it a try....
Those that were in the class...Are you using this trick??????
Yes. This droning on the root of the chord is the only possible way when the group is a fast fiddle tune. (I wasn't at the summer class, but you gave us this tip at the Psaltery Symphony in April.)


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