GRAFTON—Are you a banjo picking, guitar strumming, or fiddle playing individual who is looking for a place to show off your skills and artistic impression? Maybe you’re a bluegrass music lover, who is looking for something fun to do on Saturday night. Well, look no further because the Taylor County Arts Council has just what you need.
Each Saturday night, if you’re in the vicinity of Gallery 62 West, located in downtown Grafton, you’ll hear the sweet sounds of bluegrass filling the air, as a group of folks devoted to that particular genre of music meet for an informal jam session.
“We have people from all over that come to join us,” shared guitar player Chuck Howell. “We have a fiddle player that comes down from Pittsburgh, who meets up with a gentleman from around Blacksville. We have folks from Salem, Weston, Morgantown and some guys from the Grafton area.”
Howell revealed that a group of seven or eight people would meet to play in his garage, but then his work scheduled forced the group to meet elsewhere. Once the second meeting place fell through, the group broke up.
“I talked to Deb White to see if we could possibly get together at the Gallery to start playing our music again, and she said she thought that would be a great idea,” he shared. “This October will make five years that we have been playing here.”
Howell reported that the group gathers at different locations throughout the area to share their craft.
“We play at Rosewood sometimes and every first and third Thursday of the month we play out at First Baptist Church on 119 South,” disclosed Howell.
He said that gathering allows members to express themselves and have fun, while learning and sharing their abilities with one another.
“It’s a way for us to continue to learn new things about our music and instruments,” Howell said.
The group meets beginning at 6:00 p.m., and often plays well into the night, not breaking up until 10:00 p.m., but lately the group has gone until nearly 11:00 p.m. or even midnight.
The jam session is centered on bluegrass music, and the members are always welcoming to anyone who would like to come and join them.
“If there is anyone that would like to come and just listen to us, we welcome them to join as well,” commented Howell.
Taylor County Arts Council Member Holly Hill said that she always has a great time during the jam sessions.
“It’s just a lot of fun. I really enjoy it,” noted Hill. “They usually have a lot of wit and friendly banter in between their numbers, which adds to the experience. We have had a lot of people from out of town or even the state come to see them, and they have absolutely loved it.”
During the session, the members are seated in a circle and will take turns picking songs they’d like to play. If someone doesn’t know the song, they can watch others in the group that play the same instrument and begin to learn it.
“We encourage everyone to pick a song and express themselves. It’s all part of the learning,” Howell said.
Howell disclosed that the group will not be meeting at the Gallery on February 24, because they will be taking part in a music festival in Morgantown on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24.
Anyone wishing to take part in the jam session in invited to grab their instruments and get their vocal chords warmed up, before heading to Gallery 62 West at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
Although the group meets most Saturdays, Howell said his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/chuck.howell.908, can be checked to make sure the group is meeting. Individuals may also contact the Gallery by phone at (304) 376-5066, to make sure the group will be performing.
“I encourage everyone to come out and hear them play. It is a great time, and bluegrass lovers will not be disappointed,” shared Hill.