It’s been a great year for us here at Jam in the Van. Over the past 365 days we’ve been extremely fortunate to have our music machine graced by folks whom we believe to be some of the worlds’ greatest musicians. Some are up and coming, some have already arrived, but they all have one thing in common, they laid down amazing performances inside of The Jam Van.
While we would happily add all of them to the list of headiest sessions of the year, and deservedly so, that wouldn’t be too exclusive. So we’ve got to pick just ten. It took a lot of thought, and we had to make some tough cuts. So here we go, the ten headiest, in our eyes, one released every other week day until 2014, when we embark upon a new year and a whole slew of new sessions to make a list out of. So without further ado, here are JAM IN THE VAN’S HEADIEST SESSIONS OF 2013:
10) Futurebirds at Bonnaroo – Kick ass southern rock in a kick ass southern setting. We love Bonnaroo, and we love Futurebirds, and it’s lovely when two loves get together. Number ten on our list is a band that wasn’t shy about grabbing a brew and sweating out some lbs. in the Tennessee heat. These dudes knew that heady is as heady does, and this certainly does.
9) The Orwells outside of The Echo in Los Angeles – “Oh the places you will go,” right heads? These cats are way too good to be so damn youthful, but hey, whose setting age limits? Nobody, that’s who. Keep on rocking until you’re old and grey fellas. Glad we caught you before you got to hip for us (ha, as if anyone could get too hip for us). Also glad we got to film one of the most awkward Cuz’s Corners ever with you, but you’ll grow out of that. Until then, you’re at #9 on the list, and that’s a damn heady place to be!
8) John Fullbright on top of a mountain in Malibu – Over the past three years folks have let us park in all sorts of heady spots, but maybe none more-so then when we met John Fullbright way up on the tippy-top of Los Angeles at, believe it or not, some random lady’s house. Well, she wasn’t fully random, John knew her, but we certainly didn’t, and yet, she let our rag-tag group of riffraff park in the driveway of her extremely lovely domicile. The setting alone could have warranted a slot on this list, it was that scenic, but John Gave us one of the prettiest performances we’ve witnessed to date, and that put it over the top. So number eight comes down from up high and settles right in the pit of the soul, and that’s how you say, heady…
7) Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real at High Sierra Music Festival – Way up at the tippy top of California is a place called Quincy, where once a year the heads descend upon to create some of the best vibes that we’ve ever come accross. It was there that we had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Willie Nelson’s son, Lukas, and his band, Promise of the Real. In writing that, I realize that I’ve prefixed him as Willie’s son, and am now going to immediately apologize on account of the fact that he’s very much his own shadow, his Jam in the Van session is pure testament to that. It blew us away, a one of a kind brand of heady, unique only to Mr. Nelson, Mr. Lukas Nelson that is. It would serve you well to remember that.
6) NOBUNNY at Bed Rock Studios – We knew what we were getting before we got it, and each moment was more spectacular than the last. When it was over we were left breathless and the van’s interior smelled like a linebacker’s jock-strap. It was entirely fulfilling.
5) Ryan Bingham at The Roxy in West Hollywood – You know how the movie industry puts out their big hitters at a time near to awards season so they’re fresh in the minds of the voters? Our minds are always phresh, so we don’t let stuff from the beginning of the year slip through. So even though we met Ryan Bingham way back at the start of 2013, he was such a damn southern gentleman, and his gruff country songs are so damn heady that we couldn’t leave him off the list. So his session was our number 5 headiest, and if that isn’t good enough for him, well, he’s got an Oscar, so you know, there’s that…
4) Portugal. The Man at Life is Beautiful – They had Spud singing “Modern Jesus,” which is enough to make it onto the list on it’s own. Throw in the fact that we were in Vegas, there was a ferris wheel and a giant fire breathing praying mantis statue right down the street from the van, and we had our first long distance excursion without any engine trouble, well, that’s top 5 material. So these Alaska boys land at number 4, which is one more musician than they had with them that day, as their keyboard player got stuck on the tables… oh Vegas…
3) Allen Stone at High Sierra Music Festival – People always ask us what all these musicians are like. Hell, people ask everyone what other people are like all the time. Kudos to the folks who always get described as being kind people. That’s a really good thing to be, and not entirely easy. If you ask any of the Jam Van crew what Allen Stone was like “he’s a really nice dude,” would probably be the first thing that comes out of most of our mouths. Then of course there’d be Spud, who would probably spout something out along the lines of “he’s got too much soul to be a white boy.”
2) Deer Tick at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA – This was another session that we did early in the year but that stuck deep in the backs of our heads as unforgettable. Deer Tick has long been a favorite of Jam in the Van’s creators, and getting these dudes to hop in The Van before their show was quite a coup for us. They showed up looking like they just woke up, cut through a crowd of heads that had gathered and were anxiously chatting and drinking beer. Stepped into the van, plugged in, and immediately grabbed everyone in the near vicinity’s full attention. I mean, everyone stopped talking, stopped looking wherever they were looking, doing whatever they were doing, and listened to Deer Tick play three songs, and when it was over, all they wanted was for them to play three more, and that was heady.
1) Gary Clark Jr. at Telluride Blues & Brews Festival – The Van broke down on the way to Telluride, CO no less than five times, most of which were in the rain. We would have happily broken down twenty more times to make this session happen. After-all, we’d been chasing Gary Clark Jr. for the better part of three years. Ever since the first Jam Van rumbled its first rumble. So while picking this list was extremely difficult, as we loved all of our sessions. If we’re being real, like, really real, there was never a doubt as to who was going to sit atop this list. Getting Gary Clark Jr. in The Van was one of those seminal moments for us. It was kind of like, alright, this is going to be something really special. So onward with 2014, it only gets headier from here!