Moments from Mountain Jam
Warren Haynes and Radio Woodstocks fourth annual Mountain Jam festival took place over the weekend in Hunter, NY. As in years past, Govt Mule anchored the weekends festivities with two-set performances on both Friday and Saturday. In addition, Mountain Jam boasted marquee performances by the likes of Bob Weir & RatDog, Levon Helms Ramble on the Road, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Umphreys McGee, Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood, Citizen Cope, Ray LaMontagne,
Drive-By Truckers, Dark Star Orchestra, Galactic with Mr.Lif, Grace Potter & The Nocturnal and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, among others. Always a gracious host, Haynes invited a number of performers onstage with Govt Mule over the course of the weekend and also jammed with an eclectic mix of his guests. On Friday Govt Mule invited Umphreys McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss out for a cover of the Grateful Deads Sugaree, and the trio of Grace Potter, Nocturnals Scott Tournet and Galactic keyboardist Rich Vogel for a cover of Led Zeppelins Whole Lotta Love and the end of its first set. Soon after, Umphreys McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger helped the Mule kick things off second set with a cover of The Beatles Dear Prudence, while Ivan Neville and Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman added to a funky Spanish Moon. In addition, Potter jammed with Dumpstaphunk during their early-evening set.
Though scattered showers caused a slight delay Saturday afternoon, singer/songwriters Ray LaMontagne and Jackie Greene both turned in some of the weekends most well-received performances. Haynes also took the stage to sit in with Citizen Cope and the longtime friend Michael Franti & Spearhead. Combining his love of music and his passion for grassroots activism, Franti spoke and performed in Mountain Jams expanded Awareness Village and offered an acoustic spot on WDST radio. He also sat in with Govt Mule during their headlining spot for a rap during Unthrow That Spear. Other Govt Mule guests included LaMontagne on To Love Somebody and keyboardist John Ginity on J.J. Cales After Midnight. The keyboardist has shared the stage with Govt Mule a number of times over the years thanks to his work with both Robert Randolph and Citizen Cope. Govt Mules show was also noteworthy for its extended encore, which featured takes on Beautifully Broken, 32/20 Blues and a run from Fallen Down into The Other One Jam that was littered with Gimmie Shelter teases.
Sundays schedule featured some of the weekends biggest names, as well as a number of current buzz bands including Philadelphias Dr. Dog and local favorites the Felice Brothers. Despite being associated with a more indie-centric sound, Dr. Dog got into the sit in game, bringing out Elvis Perkins horn section Dearland for a take on My Old Ways. Soon after, Drive-By Truckers took the stage and saluted Levon Helm, who is friendly with frontman Patterson Hoods father David. Though not technically on the bill, Haynes performed a number of times throughout the day, sitting in with Medeski, Scofield Martin & Wood for a jam and Helm for his encore of I Shall Be Released and The Weight. In certain ways Helms rare festival set was a super jam itself, featuring his daughter Amy Helm and her Ollabelle drummer Tony Leone, guitarists Larry Campbell, Jimmy Vivino, Campbells wife Teresa Williams and Little Sammy Davis Jr.
RatDog closed out the festival with a full two-set performance that drew in Helm on Bob Dylans She Belongs to Me and Haynes on Loser, the latter of which is a staple in the Govt Mule catalogue. Helms appearance with RatDog marks the first time the drummer has performed with Weir since the Grateful Dead guitarist sit in with The Band at Woodstock ’94 along with bassist Rob Wasserman. The two musicians also famously collaborated near Hunter, NY at the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen in 1973, and a post-Robbie Robertson version of The Band joined also the Grateful Dead onstage for New Orleans, Big Boss Man and Iko Iko during a 1984 SEVA benefit at Ontarios Kingswood Music Theatre.
Weir also thanked Haynes for hosting the weekends festivities before diving into Loose Lucy, which includes the lyrics thank you, for a real good time.