In the roots music tradition one of the most common ways songs are passed along are through musical gatherings called jam sessions. Jam sessions give people an in person experience of playing and learning from other musicians, and having the opportunity to find a community in the music tradition of your choice through songs.

VOLUNTEERS_WOB17_jamming by photographer Dave Brainard

Jam Etiquette FAQ's

Anyone who has ever attended an organized traditional music jam or session has been challenged by the concept of etiquette. How does this thing work? What is appropriate, (and not)? How can I be a part of it, and still be sure I won’t embarrass myself? How can I get invited back again? Well, the good news is that reaching these goals is not rocket science. Most session etiquette is common sense. But just to be safe, here’s an easy introduction to get you started:

Bluegrass Jam

Bluegrass jam at street fest

PineCone Bluegrass Jam: The PineCone Bluegrass Jam is a monthly jam session that happens on the 4th Monday of every month at Transfer Co. Food Hall in downtown Raleigh. This jam is for musicians of all levels and is focused on doing songs from the Bluegrass repertoire. 

PineCone Beginner Bluegrass Jam: The PineCone Beginner Bluegrass Jam is a monthly jam session that happens at Harry’s Guitar Shop in Raleigh, NC on the third Monday of each month. This jam is meant to stay focused on playing songs that people with little experience can play along with.

List of songs frequently played at the
PineCone Bluegrass jam

These are just some of the songs frequently played at the PineCone Bluegrass Jams at Harry's Guitar Shop and TransferCo Food Hall each month.  If you can pick a couple of these tunes you should be in good shape.

Big Spike Hammer
Banks of the Ohio
Cherokee Shuffle
Deep River Blues
Don’t This Road Look Rough and Rocky
East Virginia Blues
Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Foggy Mountain Top
Gold Watch and Chain
Greenville Trestle
How Mountain Girls Can Love
I’ll Fly Away

I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Keep on the Sunny Side
Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Little Georgia Rose
Little Girl of Mine in Tennessee
Long Black Veil
Love, Please Come Home
New River Train
The Old Home Place
Red Wing
Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms
Salt Creek

Sittin’ on Top of the World
Soldier’s Joy
Some Old Day
Sunny Side of the Mountain
Wagon Wheel*
Whiskey Before Breakfast
White Dove
Worried Man Blues
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
You Don’t Know My Mind

*It's a great song, but you're gonna want to "read the room" before calling this one.

PineCone Youth Bluegrass Jam 

IBMA 2022

Calling all youth musicians

Fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, and other stringed instruments, you are invited to jam with your peers, other kids in the area who enjoy playing the same types of music you do! These fun, friendly jams will continue to include some skill building, and will also provide opportunities for young musicians to meet each other and learn about bluegrass jamming. 

YOUTH2022_SallyHurleyPhoto_BassOpenHouse4

PineCone's Youth Jam is held on the 3rd Saturday of the month (mostly) 2:30 - 4:00 in the Cary Arts Center.

Paul Cooper Studio
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave, Cary

Shape Note Music 

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Sacred Harp singing is the largest surviving branch of traditional American shape note singing. Singers in this tradition sing without accompaniment and sit arranged by vocal part in a "hollow square," facing one another across the square and taking turns at leading from the middle of the square. The songs are sung loudly, with spirit and enthusiasm, and rich four-part harmonies fill the room. The leader of each song sets the tempo with a simple vertical arm movement, and singers sitting in the square often beat time with the leader.

Songs are sung from a tune book called The Sacred Harp, first published in 1844 and continuously updated since then. It includes more than 500 a cappella hymns, odes, and anthems. While the origins of this music can be traced back to Renaissance England, the singing tradition reached a peak of development in early New England, as itinerant singing masters set words to hymns, ballads, and folk tunes, and taught their songs in singing schools. However, it was in the American South that shape note singing found an enduring home. Today, the South is home to singing conventions, including some that date back more than 100 years.

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Shape Note Music 

Our friends at North Carolina Shape Note keep track of open sings around the state. Most sessions begin with a primer for newcomers and end with refreshments.

Visit the NC Shape Note website