By Bethany Ward, Staff Writer–
The Red Bank Bluegrass Jam is an open jam session every Thursday night for all levels of country and bluegrass musicians. It occurs Grace Nazarene Church and its participants represent a diversity of ages, including everyone from high schoolers to 96-year-olds.
“The [Grace Nazarene Church] has a recreation room they allow us to use on Thursday nights…we appreciate that very much,” Bob Rocks, a stand-up bass player said. “We’ve been here for about 10 or 12 years,” he continued.
Rocks also noted that the jam is open to anyone, both those looking to show up with an instrument and play as well as those simply looking to listen. “We put everybody in a circle and pass microphones around all night long…one player to another.”
The jam generally has as many listeners as it has players, Rocks explained, but talents are also quite diversified, ranging from those who play mandolin to those who play guitar and some who play banjo.
Rocks himself has been playing bass for about 10 years, and he plays almost every Thursday night.
“I always encourage people to come and check it out… if you want to learn to play an instrument or come and sing a song… you have an opportunity to do that,” Rocks said. “Broaden your own music talents.” Further, the jam offers the opportunity to learn more about what makes bluegrass unique and what the differences are between country and bluegrass, as well.
Rocks feels that sometimes the connotations of the term “bluegrass” can be a deterrent, but adds that “Bluegrass is good because you can play it your whole life… the messages are always there.”
Grace Nazarene Church is located at 6310 Dayton Blvd, and the jam takes place from 6:30pm to 9pm each Thursday night.
“We want students to come and play,” Bob emphasized. “Show up and share your talents.”