Column: Clanton Bluegrass Jam celebrates Anniversary

Published 12:40 pm Monday, July 31, 2023

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By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

Once a month, Bluegrass players and enthusiasts make a pilgrimage to Clanton’s Ollie Park to “pick and play” together under the pavilion. The Clanton Alabama Monthly Bluegrass Jam consists of musicians from two different musical groups, Fire Town and Blue Heart, which play together with other instrumentalists at the end of each month on a Tuesday or a Thursday. The group posts on their Facebook page which night they will perform at Ollie Park three weeks in advance.

The next “pick and play” will be August 24 from 5:30-10 p.m. Ollie Park is located at 403 Ollie Avenue, Clanton.

The Bluegrass group began meeting May 2022, playing at Ollie Park during the seasonally warm months, and Clanton Recreation Hall during the winter. One of the group’s organizers, Jared Dailey, said that they enjoy gathering outdoors because it is true to the Bluegrass culture.

“I am a purist at heart,” said Dailey. “Bluegrass is the same if the power goes out. With Bluegrass there is no amplification or special effects. There are just instruments and a circle of people.”

Dailey, a resident of Clanton and musician for over 30 years, describes Bluegrass as one of the only musical genres that fulfills and writes itself, without sheet music.

“You can listen to a song as it is being played and it will tell you where it wants to go,” said Dailey. “I don’t know any other genre that can do that, other than maybe Jazz. How the vocals are being sung and the cords are being played will guide the musician on what to be played next. Just like in a Hallmark movie, you can kind of see where the storyline is headed and who is going to fall in love. Bluegrass is played very similarly. We listen to it and go with it.”

Dailey’s initial interest in Bluegrass began as a child when his family moved to Central Alabama and started attending a church that played “Gospel with a Bluegrass spin on it.” As an adult, he enjoys playing with the band, Blue Heart, and playing with the like-minded musicians of Clanton’s Bluegrass Jam that come together with one goal — “to make people feel better.”

“We want the community to bring a chair and a smile,” said Dailey. “We want people to leave in a better mood than what they came with. Everyone is welcome. We want to also hopefully light a fire in young people for the next generation to continue to play because when you hear it, Bluegrass becomes a part of you.”

For more information, visit Clanton Alabama Monthly Bluegrass Jam via Facebook or contact Jared Dailey at 205-415-7247.