Mountain Jam Festival VI
Hunter Mountain Ski Lodge
After our successful adventure to last year's Mountain Jam V, Steve and I were pumped to see what Warren had in store for 2010. The line-up this year was looking stellar. Aside from the usual two nights of Gov't Mule (as if six hours of Warren jamming with occasional guests wasn't enough) the highlights for me were the Drive-By Truckers, Derek Trucks, Grace Potter, Les Claypool, Michael Franti, Lettuce, Jackie Greene, Jay Farrar (Son Volt) and of course the grand finale birthday special with Levon Helm et al. including Donald Fagen and Steve Earle.
Once again knowing sleep would not come easy, we hit road early Thursday evening and heading due south for the Catskills via our favorite Walmart sleepover stop in Cobleskill, NY.
Joining us on the mountain this year was our old high school buddy Glenn (Eskimo). While Steve and I were leisurely driving down from Ottawa, Glenn was flying from London, England crossing British Airways' picket lines and holding his breath through the deadly volcanic ash. Despite the obstacles Glenn arrived right on time and only managed to miss the setting up of the tent in our VIP camping area.
And then the music started...
Equally entertaining as the musicians on stages are the folks that gather around the mountain side and camp out in the hills. Here's just a small flavor...
As per usual Warren Haynes shared the stage with many of the other artists performing at Hunter Mountain - Grace Potter, Les Claypool, Derek Trucks, Patterson Hood, Ray LaMontagne, Jackie Greene, Dave Mason, Matisyahu, Lettuce, and of course the grand finale with Levon Helm and all his special guests (Steve Earle, Donald Fagen, Allison Moorer, and Sam Bush). A right musical marathon guitar god, Warren is one of a kind.
Of note, Grace Potter was a definite highlight of the weekend. The icing on the cake was when she stepped up to join Gov't Mule on Fleetwood Mac's "Gold Dust Woman". Grace and Warren belted out an incredibly soulful version of a Stevie Nicks classic. Grace's sensuality was pouring over the edge of the stage. Warren's... um, not so much. Here's a youtube clip from the 2008 Jammys - good but not nearly as perfected as it was that night on Hunter Mountain.
A three hour birthday party for Levon Helm wrapped up the weekend. Levon was in top form playing drums and occasionally singing lead vocals on what was mainly a long list of classic songs from The Band. He as all smiles and showed his appreciation at the end of each song to each and every person that dropped by to pay their respects.
Here's a tidbit for you - Levon grew up on an Arkansas cotton farm in a tiny hamlet called Turkey Scratch. Seriously.
Anyhow the weekend was another huge success all around. Great weather, great company, and a great selection of bands. Again VIP was the way to go. Hands down. And the slight adjustments and tweaks to the VIP package did not go unnoticed. Awesome job guys.
Finally a massive thank you Warren and Gov't Mule.
Left to right... Warren Haynes, Matt Abts, Jorgen Carlsson, Danny Louis.