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PineCone Youth Jam with Jef Walter & Spencer Mobley

Sunday, January 15, 2017 @ 3:30 pm
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Jam Session

At the January youth jam, facilitators Jef Walter and Spencer Mobley will teach “Nine Pound Hammer,” a bluegrass jam classic that’s been played a few times before at PineCone jams and camps, but might be new to you. We’ll try Nine Pound Hammer in the key of A, and you can also find chord charts for guitars/banjos who may put a capo on the second fret (to play out of “key of G” positions.) We also have a chord chart for Nine Pound Hammer in in the key of C, which may be a better fit for some singers with higher voices.

This song uses the I (one), IV (four), and V (five) chords, and the chords for the verses are the same as those for the chorus. In the key of A, those chords are A, D, and E. In the key of G, those chords are G, C, and D. If you’re not sure what these “chord numbers” mean exactly, no problem–that’s one thing the facilitators will review at the jam.

Participants will also discuss how to choose what key to play a bluegrass song in. Most bluegrass instrumentals have a standard key that players use, but for vocal songs with lyrics, the group selects a key that best suits the lead singer. As you work on singing this song (or any bluegrass song), experiment with different keys to find one that’s most comfortable for your singing voice. And also be prepared to try a song in different keys to accommodate other singers’ voices.

Of course, there will still be plenty of time for jamming together on a variety of other songs, too (sample song list below). Participants are also encouraged to bring a prepared song to sing and/or play with the group, but this is not required for participation.

For those who don’t play an instrument yet, Marbles will have a build your own instrument station set up in Curiosity Square.

Sign up for e-mail updates about programs and opportunities for youth musicians; or call 919-664-8333 x103.

Directions and parking information for Marbles Kids Museum

Downtown Raleigh parking information

PineCone Kid Jam at Marbles logo - overlapping red, green and orange pick-shaped triangles with one instrument neck sticking out from each pick.

About the youth jam facilitators:

Jef Walter performs regularly on bass and guitar with a “who’s who” of North Carolina acoustic musicians, including Charles Pettee and the Iron Mountain Messengers. He is also the band mentor for The Carolina PineCones, a youth bluegrass band based in Raleigh. Walter will facilitate this year’s youth jams with a rotating group of special guest co-facilitators.

January’s guest facilitator will be Spencer Mobley, a Raleigh musician who has performed as a member or fill-in musician with a variety of local, regional, and national bands, including Diamond Creek and the Outliers. He also serves as PineCone’s jam committee chair and helps to facilitate PineCone bluegrass jams in Carrboro and in Raleigh.

Songs played at past youth jams have included:


  • Angeline the Baker (D)
  • Arkansas Traveler (D)
  • Soldiers Joy (D)
  • Whiskey Before Breakfast (D)
  • Liberty (D)
  • Old Joe Clark (A)
  • Cripple Creek (A)
  • Salt Creek (A)
  • Cherokee Shuffle (A)
  • Blackberry Blossom (G)
  • Billy in the Lowground (C)

Songs with Lyrics:

  • Bury Me Beneath the Willow
  • Nine Pound Hammer
  • Long Journey Home
  • I’ll Fly Away
  • My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • In the Pines

Newer songs the group has worked:

  • Hot Corn, Cold Corn (featured song in December 2016) – Key of G
  • Down the Road (featured song in November 2016) – Key of A
  • Meet Me By the Moonlight (featured song in March 2016) – Key of G, Key of E
  • (A) Worried Man Blues (featured song in February 2016)
  • (D) Swallowtail Jig
  • (G) June Apple
  • (G) Long Journey Home ($2 Bill)
  • (G) Red Clay Halo


Sunday, January 15, 2017
3:30 pm
Event Category:


Marbles Kids Museum
201 E Hargett St
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