Warren Haynes ’08 Xmas Jam Details!



Stars slated to play
2-night bash include Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band, Steve
Earle, Johnny Winter, Travis Tritt &Marty Stuart, Joan Osborne… plus a Comedy Jam! Ticket
pre-sale set for Nov. 5.      .


By Fred Mills; photos by Allie Goolrick


As promised in this space earlier today, we’ve got the
details on the 2008 Warren Haynes Christmas Jam which takes place on December
12 & 13 at the Civic Center in Asheville,


Just announced at the official Christmas Jam website and
over the airwaves via selected radio stations with which Haynes conducted
interviews earlier this week (such as THIS ONE) is the all-star lineup for what
marks the 20th anniversary of the Jam. Among the big names this year:
the Allman Brothers Band, Steve Earle, Travis Tritt & Marty Stuart, Michael
Franti, the Del McCoury Band, Johnny Winter, JJ Grey (sans Mofro), Joan Osborne, Ruthi Foster,   – and of course Haynes himself, multitasking,
as always, as host, ringmaster and featured performer (both solo and with the


See below for the full roster – and note that, typically,
there are always last-minute additions to the bill.


Tickets officially go on sale on  Saturday, Nov. 15 via Ticketmaster and the Asheville Civic Center
box office. There will also be an exclusive ticket pre-sale starting  Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. for folks who register at
the Christmas Jam Ticketing site. Tickets will be available as single day, two
day and VIP packages.


As always, proceeds from the Jam will go to benefit Habitat
For Humanity
, Haynes’ charity of choice. In Asheville there’s even a Warren Haynes Boulevard located on the
west side of the city; it leads to a beautiful country enclave of Habitat-built
houses. To date the Jam has raised over $650,000. (Haynes is a native of Asheville and still has
plenty of family and friends there.)


The Jam has been expanded to two nights partly because it’s
the event’s 20th anniversary, but even as far back as 2006 there had
been discussions of broadening its scope because it never fails to sell out –
more than 7,000 fans attend each year, coming from all corners of the country
and even from overseas – and the reasoning went along the lines of, “why not do
it for more than just one evening and thereby allow more folks to attend while
raising even more money for Habitat?”


In a conversation I had with Haynes last year he mentioned
that they had even talked about possibly doing a related event in New York to mark the 20th anniversary, but ultimately the feeling was that it’s important to retain a
local, Asheville-focused flavor. The 2007 Jam did offer up a wealth of
ancillary Jam-related activities, among them an art show and some informal
afternoon mini-Jams held at local watering holes. Also, it’s been the custom in
recent years for there to be what’s called the “pre-jam Jam” held the night
before the Jam proper. Local venue the Orange Peel (voted earlier this year by Rolling Stone as one of America’s top
five clubs) has a 900+ capacity and has proved a reliable host for the pre-jam,
which is an invite-only event; regional radio station WNCW-FM broadcasts the
pre-jam live, and it’s also an opportunity for additional funds to be raised
for Habitat via raffles of autographed guitars and solicitations of donations
from listeners.


This year’s pre-jam Jam will take place at the Orange Peel
on Thursday, Oct. 11.


Also, according to the organizers, “Building
on the tremendous success of last year’s inaugural Christmas Jam By Day, we will not only return with daytime
concerts featuring many of the performers mentioned above as well as some of
the best and hottest new bands in the country, an art show, and movie
screenings, we will have the first Christmas Jam Comedy Show which will feature
none other than Lewis Black.”





Over the years Haynes has received enough local accolades to
qualify him as Asheville’s
singular most famous citizen – even better known that author Thomas Wolfe. I
moved to Asheville
myself in 2002 and have attended five Jams to date and watched him receive the
key to the city from the Mayor, have the day of the Jam proclaimed “Official
Warren Haynes Day” and many more kudos. It’s unusual for a world-famous
musician to retain such close ties with his hometown, but it’s clear that he’s
never forgotten this beautiful mountain city even though he had to move away in
the ‘80s in order to get his career firmly in gear.


He started the Jam in 1988 at a now-defunct club called 45 Cherry.
Back then it was just a low-key gathering of friends and fellow local
musicians, but it quickly earned a reputation as a must-attend event. As it
expanded in size and scope it moved first to an also-defunct, but fondly
remembered, club called Be Here Now, then to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium (cap.:
around 2500), before winding up at its permanent home, the Civic Center.
Compared to pretty much every modern-day arena, the Civic Center
is small, and Haynes also told me once that they’d considered relocating the
Jam to a nearby city with a larger, more up-to-date facility. But again, his
organization felt it was important to keep things local.

Why is the Jam musically significant? Aside from it being
for a damn good cause, and the fact that return-attendees help give it almost a
gather-round-the-communal-fire vibe where old friends are able to reunite year
after year, the selection of artists is always an eclectic one, and the
potential for mind-bending onstage collaborations is always high. From Haynes sitting
in with most of the acts (last year saw him and Peter Frampton, no less, in an
incendiary guitar duel) and an ad-hoc supergroup one year featuring Marty
Stuart and members of Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule, to a similar set that
same year with Jorma Kaukonen serving as a bandleader and serving some of the
most cortex-tickling psychedelia since his Jefferson Airplane days, there’s
never a dull moment and always a slew
of surprises. Going to one of the Jams is like attending a mini-Bonnaroo, minus
the bugs, rainshowers and heatstroke that comes with sitting out in a field in Tennessee in the middle
of the summer.

Too, Haynes has consistently demonstrated an uncommon
intuition in picking up-and-coming acts to play at the Jam who go on to become
major artists in their own right. A few years ago a young singer-songwriter
going by the name of Ray LaMontagne came out and won over a Civic Center crowd
with a brief-but-memorable 4-song set; last year Grace Potter and the
Nocturnals brought the house down on successive evenings at both the pre-Jam
and the Jam; and also last year, attendees were introduced to a band from
Athens called Dead Confederate who at the time were just readying their debut
EP and have since released a critically-acclaimed full-length.

But if you’ve read this far, you’re already knowledgeable
about Haynes and don’t need me to tell you how special the music is. Plus, you
can get a pretty in-depth overview of the Jam as it’s evolved over the years at
the official site. Here’s some links to first-hand reports from past Jams from
when BLURT was a little ol’ rock mag called Harp.
Watch the BLURT site for upcoming coverage of the 2008 Christmas Jam both pre-
and post-event.


And don’t forget to order your tickets early – last year
they sold out fast. It’s for a good cause. Or did I mention that already?


16th Annual Jam (2004):




17th Annual Jam (2005): www.harpmagazine.com/reviews/concert_reviews/detail.cfm?article=10350


18th Annual Jam (2006):



19th Annual Jam (2007):



2007 Pre-Jam Jam:










Allman Brothers Band
Del McCoury Band
Derek Trucks Band
Steve Earle
Ruthie Foster
Michael Franti Acoustic Featuring Jay Bowman
Gov’t Mule
JJ Grey
Col. Bruce Hampton
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Robert Kearns
Kevn Kinney
Eric Krasno
Joan Osborne
Mickey Raphael
Travis Tritt & Marty Stuart
Johnny Winter
+ Additional Performers, And Each Days Schedule, To Be
Announced Shortly





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