Just to make you smile
I have always dreamed of customizing my guitars in various ways. Some people put racing stripes on their cars. Some folks hang paintings on their walls. Some even get tattoos for their bodies. Me? I am guitar crazy. I want my guitars to shout out, ‘ HEY! LOOK AT ME! ‘. You can say that is silly, go ahead. It don’t change the fact that I am always gonna long for art to display on my instrument.
Some day I’m going to get some pickguards made, with my own personal images and messages on them, to put on my favorite guitars. Just how I will do this is uncertain, but I am determined that it will happen, some day. Until then, I am busy, in my spare time, coming up with the perfect pick guard designs to put on those pickguards. Below is just one example of such a guard. I call it ” Bluegrass is not a CRIME! “, and it is me poking fun at my own love of Bluegrass. I hope that it will make you smile.
Happy Birthday WESTMAN JAMS!
My how time goes by. I did a little calculating and, do you know, this would be the fifteenth year of Westman Jams! It doesn’t seem all that long ago when I came through those hall doors, in Sprucewoods , and I was the new kid on the block. Like all new kids, I was caught in the conundrum of how to make friends among-st a close knit group of musicians that already knew each other. It was scary, to say the least, but I knew the rewards would make it all worthwhile.
It helped a lot that Reg Jones and his friends were determined to make every new member feel welcome and at home. When I was young, my dad’s family would get together and just plunk themselves down on the couch and start playing music. That’s how it was in those early days of the Jam. We talked about Bluegrass, but you could play anything you wanted. Everybody was eager to hear what you had to offer. There were no boarders. Folks played all kinds of music, old and new. You didn’t have to be a musician. We could supply the accompaniment to your voice. You didn’t have to sing. An instrumental was always welcome. Yes those where the days. A lot of things have changed since then.
Westman Jams is a perfect example of organic evolution. We developed new traits but we, naturally, kept the best of the old ones because they served us well. These days, when a new musician or singer enters the hall, we are all eager to get acquainted and welcome him or her to our fold. Every new member of the jam adds a new dimension to the group. I think that my favorite part of the Jam is meeting our latest guests and finding out just what they are going to do when the music starts. A Jam is an exciting event to attend, especially when folks can just be themselves musically.
Many of the old guard are gone now and, somehow, we have lost touch with other founding members. It’s sad, when old friends just aren’t there anymore. We are all made less, with the absence of our old compatriots. These things can’t always be fixed but the new faces, coming through those doors help to fill the emotional void in our hearts and keep our passion for music burning brightly.
Fifteen years is a long time, unless your doing something, with them, that you truly love. Then they go by in a flash. I guess, if there is a message behind this it is that, nothing goes on forever. Certainly no garden flourishes unless you expend the thought and effort to take care of it. As the Westman Jams grow and mature, we must strive to retain those properties of acceptance and encouragement that have done so much to carry us this far so that, fifteen years from now, local amature musicians will have a similar opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of other musicians that they would otherwise never get to meet and sit down to play music with.
In this, our fifteenth year, I would like to congratulate all the folks who attend, participate, and help make happen, the Westman Jams. Great Job People! You’ve helped create and maintain a wonderful asset to your community. Let’s keep it going and growing. Your efforts have certainly NOT gone without being noticed. …Happy Birthday, Westman Jams!…
This greeting is brought to you from;
Elger Heath, A.K.A., the Chairman.
Elger Heath : (a.k.a. The Chairman)
For those of you who know the jams well… I am Elger Heath so this month I am featuring … well… me. Now I know what your thinking. That’s a pretty selfish thing to do, using a platform you edit to feature yourself! But I’m afraid that the only sample I was able to edit out of the last jam’s recordings that was clean enough to feature was my piece at the mic and this is, in the end, an audio feature. The point of these features is to give you folks an idea what you might hear at a jam and that would include me as well. Besides, sooner or later my number had to come up so I might as well get this over with early on.
My name is Elger Heath, and I am one of the singer / guitarists you’ll see at the jam on a regular basis. I say singer / guitarist, because if I have any talent at all it is with my voice. I learned to play guitar just to fill in the sound behind my singing. I have always been a singer, long before I learned to play guitar.
What Westman Jams has done for me:
Westman Jams has given me experience and challenges. I was a reasonable chord-er when I first came to the jam but what I lacked was people to play along side. I don’t come to a jam to stand up at a mic and show off my talents as a lead singer. What I REALLY enjoy is singing harmony with other singers and counter picking in the background. I’d sooner be the harmony then the lead. Harmony is where all the fun is at. You can’t do harmony all by your self. Westman Jams has given me musical friends to mix music with. That’s what is so great about a jam and it is what keeps me coming back every month. Also, it is fascinating, all of the character you meet at the jams and what they do and know. Where else could you encounter such a large crosscut of the amateur music scene in this province?
I set about to learn to pick guitar after I joined the jam. For those of you who think that I am a good guitar picker, know this. I never thought that I could ever learn to pick guitar when I was young. I played in public, mostly to act as rhythm guitarist for fiddle players. I never even thought I was capable of a lead instrumental. After a few months at the jam, I realized that we were very short of guitar pickers. There was Reg and a few others and that was all. I figured that if I practiced a few tunes at home, enough, I might be able to perform one or two tunes well enough to go before the mic. So that is what I did. Now I fill in some of the instrumental breaks for other singers, as well as for myself. I still wouldn’t say that I am good, but good enough to fill the gap, sure. And you could be as well. All you need to do is put in that extra practice at home.
I took over the Westman Jams website in mid 2015. Before that I often thought that what we ought to do with the website was include a little of this, add a little of that, feature some sound bites and more articles and videos, more tutorials and tips & tricks. I had all of these ideas but no clue if any of them where feasible of if they were even possible. I noticed that the web site had become inanimate. Nothing was being updated, except the calendar. Nobody was writing anything to post on it. It was as if we had let it die. I went to Wayne, who was the president of the council at the time, and asked if he’d be willing to let me take on the website, on a trial basis, to see if I could inject something into it. He agreed and thus I started editing the website. Now I didn’t know anything about editing or maintaining a website up to then so I had to learn fast, but it was quite an adventure. I had plenty of ideas, I just had to learn how to make turn them into reality online. This was the second gift that the Westman Jams gave to me. I found out that I love to work on websites. I NEVER would have found that out if not for the jams.
My point is that Westman Jams offers folks all kinds of potential opportunities to expand their horizons. All you have to do is grab the bull by the horns and who knows where you’ll end up. All I can tell you, for certain, is that the ride will be exciting.
At the Royal Canadian Legion Jam, in Brandon Manitoba on June 18’th 2017, I recorded this clip of me performing an instrumental. Here I am at the mic playing ‘Ashokan Farewell’. I hope that you enjoy it.
Welcome Pickers, Grinners, and Music Fans to Our Web Site!
We hope your visit will be enjoyable and informative. Check out our “Jam Talk” page and drop us a line or a comment or two. You won’t see your comments right away unless you have been pre-approved to do so. The site is periodically updated. Upon verifying your comments I will remove the spam filter so you can use it at will. The Events & Jams tabs are updated as often as we are notified of the various music venues taking place in Manitoba or Saskatchewan. This is a free service so keep us informed and we will be happy to post your event.
Our bottom line goal is to keep our local live music alive and well in our area. So c’mon out to Spruce Woods the last Sunday of each month and bring your music with you. We’d love to see ya…
Here’s a map to find your way to Sprucewoods, coming from Brandon Manitoba or the surrounding area. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)
Roots Music | Anything and everything that I can think of, dealing with music will be here if I can figure a way to put it on a web site.
Here’s a map so’s you can find your way around SpruceWoods. (Click on the map to enlarge it.) If you would like to join us in our jams or would just like more information call Wayne at (204) 834-2130 or any of the executive listed on the executive page under “Members”. ________________________________________________________________
DO YOU WANT A JAM IN YOUR TOWN??
It’s free and easy…
Here are the requirements: Westman Jams does not pay rent for the venue: i.e The hall/auditorium/ must be donated. There is NO charge for admission at the door. Westman Jams takes a silver collection Your town can put on a supper to raise money. Most of the Jammers will participate and buy a ticket. If you would like arrange a jam in your community call Wayne at (204) 834-2130 or any of the executive listed on the executive page under “Members”.
CANADIAN NORTHERN LIGHTS
The Canadian Northern Lights are a group of Motorhome enthusiasts from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota that get together approximately once a month to enjoy fellowship and fun. On the weekend of May 26 to 29, 2016 we enjoyed the hospitality of Carberry, Manitoba.
Occasionally we enjoy live entertainment. It was arranged that a club called the Westman Jammers would try to bring together some members and play some old time music for us to enjoy. We ended up with 15 players, singers and family members that joined us for an evening of good music and dancing. They travelled from different parts of the province to get together. The music and dancing lasted a full two hours and it was apparent that they truly enjoyed what they were doing.
I would like to pass on a big thank you from the Canadian Northern Lights to Wayne and all the Westman Jammers that joined us that night to give us an evening of entertainment that will be remembered and talked about for some time to come.