Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Schools

December 7, 2009

Musical connections

Many influences noted at ACTC jam sessions

Ashland — If you’re going to have a jam session, you can’t go wrong with a rendition of “Freebird” to get things started.

Students at Ashland Community and Technical College who may have otherwise never met are now joining in the cafeteria twice a week for a mostly acoustic jam session, combining influences from Texas blues to Kentucky bluegrass, Nashville country and the universal language of heavy metal.

Thursday’s session at the school combined the sounds of four acoustic and one electric guitar, a banjo and at least one vocalist before it was time to go back to class. Participating musicians say they’ve previously enjoyed being accompanied by musicians with keyboards, a flute and a mandolin, as well as several singers.

“We just play whatever we feel like playing at the time. If we know it we play it,” said Daniel Moore of Ashland, who used to bring his instrument to the college so he could practice between classes and is now cited as one of the major “sparkplugs” of the Tuesday and Thursday jams.

“This is open to all faculty and students — just show up with your instrument,” Moore said as the circle of musicians played an abrupt rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy,” before launching into instrumental versions of “One” by Metallica and “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” from Guns N’ Roses.

Thursday’s musical circle was made up of Moore, along with Steven Burton, Jim Fox, Jason Mullins, Levi Howard, Paul Chinn and Keith Powers.

“We always try to provide opportunities for students to pursue their own interests,” said ACTC public relations coordinator Gayle Fritz, who credited Student Affairs Coordinator Rae Ann Caldwell for making the jam sessions a reality. “This is a community builder — a college community builder. I think a lot of them have very different backgrounds. They just have to find a common ground somewhere and they can find a common ground here.

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