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Published: 2006/03/23
by Jeremy Sanchez

JamCam Chronicles: Wakarusa- June 2005 Lawrence, KS

Recorded in June of 2005, in Lawrence, KS, the Wakarusa 2005 the “Season 2, Set Two” edition of JamCam Chronicles will fit the bluegrass, jamgrass, newgrass, and alt-country leaning subscribers just swell, since Wakarusa’s lineup was layered with healthy country rootsvarious flavors stirred in, of course. If you dig on the country tip, there’s no better time to send in a subscription than for this edition.

The DVD is bookended by String Cheese Incident performances, first “One Step Closer” -> “It Is What It Is,” and finally “Outside and Inside.” Split Lip Rayfield (a bluegrass arranged, though not completely bluegrass sounding, all-string band) cannonballs with flying fingers (bassist Jeff Eaton clacks away on a homemade gas-tank bass; the tank’s from a 1965 Ford.) through “Truth and Lies” and catches their breath with “100 Dollar Bill.” They return later in the DVD for “Never Make it Home,” Eaton on kazoo, before another (“Redneck Tailgate Dream”) at such speeds you wonder if these guys are actually hitting the strings or if they’re playing over a backing trackthey’re just that fast. Blueground Undergrass’ “Forget the Past” is a great example of how you can amplify traditionally acoustic string instruments to make them work over the thunderous thumping of a drum kit, which is something they talk about during a provided interview session.

Some of the DVD’s standouts are Moonshine Still’s “Barely Alive” (a band who’s vocal harmonies actually work live), Perpetual Groove with a soothing and trancy “TSMM,” Jazz Mandolin Project’s “Hamhock” (get the CDs from this Fishman-linked band all of them are great!!!) and Tea Leaf Green’s “Warmup,” followed by “Freedom.”

During the audience shots section, we’re taken through what Wakarusa means, or could mean“letter by letter.” I’ll just go over the A’s here, not only because there are more A’s in Wakarusa than any other letter, but because all three are really all I personally need to make it through: being “Alive,” having a mindful “Awareness” and being “Ass deep in music.”

In another section, the SCI Fidelity Street Team gets props for spreading the sound of bands like, originally, the String Cheese Incident and, now, bands like New Monsoon. Street teams are, is it’s explained here, all-important and a big part of any successful band’s family. An Honest Tune Magazine is featured in a segment where it’s also highlighted for its drive to spread the word about sound.

Speaking of New Monsoon (A thoughtful blend of world textures), their “Southern Dew” follows directly after the SCI Fidelity segment. New Monsoon is one of my favorite current-and-rising bands. After seeing them at last year’s All Good Music Festival in WV, I NEED MORE! Their three-percussionist (yes, three) sound truly rings unique when Rajiv Parikh plays tabla, and who doesn’t love themselves some tabla? I know I do!

Railroad Earth is a band I’d not heard yet (heard of, just not heard)damn if I’m not sorry for it! I must see themnow! They’re this issue’s “Spotlight” band and included as their first track is a version of “Mighty River,” then an interview segment (a little discussion about jamming/improvisation) followed by “Long Way to Go.” Railroad Earth is definitely a worthy candidate and winner of this issue’s “Spotlight”masterful singing and the same goes for the musica very good call!

Before SCI plays “Outside and Inside,” there’s an interview with percussionist Jason Hann, drummer/percussionist Michael Travis, and guitarist/vocalist Billy Nershi. While more is talked about than just this, it comes to the surface that Nershi is fed up with missing Halloween with his family. He voices it here with jest, but a tangible seriousness. Interestingly, last year, for the first in nine, SCI did not play on Halloweena few months after the interview was recorded.

The credits roll through with Nershi still “complaining” and basically joking around about how he’s simply miserable with the bandthe worst thing that’s ever happened to him, it would seem. The laughter at the end proves otherwise. Beyond the music you get to see and hear on JamCam Chronicles DVDs (so sweet mmmmm), these interviews and views of bands behind the scenes are extra insightful, in a way reading the same Q and A write up never could be.

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