Glendessary Jam has been getting together in Santa Barbara, California, to play Old Time American fiddle music for nearly 30 years. We are not a band but learn by ear and jam together to carry on the two-hundred-year tradition of (mostly) Appalachian dance tunes and back porch melodies. Many of our tunes derive from Scottish and Irish traditions (as well as other European traditions) that crossed the Atlantic and melded particularly with the African-American banjo to become Old Time music. Many of the pieces we play trace the history of The United States from colonial days, through the Revolution, the Gold Rush, the War Between the States and into the Twentieth Century up through the 1930’s when radio and recordings opened up new chapters in the evolution of these tunes and the games and dances associated with them.
This site provides tunes for learning. These are some of the tunes we play or that we want to play here in Santa Barbara.
In summer we meet for a jam at Alice Keck Park on the corner of Santa Barbara and Micheltorena on Wednesdays at about 5 or 5:30pm. We play in the sundial near the gazebo. In winter we go back to Rusty’s Pizza on Carillo and Bath St. – usual time 5 or 5:30. It is an open jam for people who want to play or listen to old-time music.
What is a Jam?
A jam is not a performance, it's just a group of people getting together to play some music. We play together because it's fun, not because we're a band. We have all levels of players playing together, many people have learned and are learning to play right here and are welcomed and coached along, pretty soon they are bringing in tunes and starting them off.
We have made these recordings at jams, parties and events. Many of the recordings are just snippets and are started and stopped in the middle. People will be gabbing away at the party and a tune will emerge from the din, you recognize it's a good one so fumble for the recording device and then half-way through the beginning of the B part, you finally find the record button! Therefore, the real beginnings and ends are not always included in these sound snippets. Some have even been edited to loop fairly decently when played at home on your Quicktime or other player.
Some of these recordings aren't ours. If the recording sounds really good, it's probably not a recording of us. This is usually true of tunes in the "To Learn" section.