A Perfect Combination: ‘Jam in the Trees’ 2018 Review

The third installment of ‘Jam in the Trees’ took place over this past weekend in Black Mountain…

A surprisingly cool evening for August in North Carolina, even for the mountains, greeted fans and those affectionately becoming known as ‘jamsters’ outside Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain on Friday night. The beginning to what is quickly becoming a premiere event for the area in only its third year of existence, ‘Jam in the Trees’ continues to exceed expectations.

The star studded lineup featured three intimate sets on Friday night inside the venue as the capacity crowd spilled out into the picnic area toward the food trucks on hand. Outside, preparations for Day 2 could be heard from the outdoor stage, adding anticipation to the event as a whole.

Asheville based singer and songwriter Jane Kramer kicked off the night with a few songs setting a high bar for the evening of music to follow. Quickly capturing the attention of everyone on hand with ‘Truck Stop Stars’ and a few songs from her upcoming album (Fall 2018), Kramer was joined by Andy Buckner on stage before ending her opening set.

The hip hop and bluegrass combination known as Gangstagrass followed, energizing the crowd. A blend of lyrics and song styles thought to have no place in the same realm of music comes together to create an intense live and thoroughly entertaining performance. RSON the Voice of Reason effortlessly composing flawless lines while managing to bring in notations of Asheville and other bands on hand was something to witness.

The evening ended with another Asheville band, Fireside Collective, who had many local fans in attendance. Their upbeat set put an exclamation point on night one, warming up Pisgah Brewing for a full day of entertainment on Saturday.

The festivities kicked off just after lunch for a full day of great music as those returning from Friday and all new ‘jamsters’ were greeted by sets from The Po Ramblin Boys of neighboring Tennessee and Andy Buckner, who was joined by his full band on stage with Jane Kramer adding some nice harmony.

A quickly alternating pace between the outdoor stage and indoor venue kept the music flowing like much of the craft beer on hand – no worries though, PBR is also available in addition to a self-serve water station complete with available cups and its own tap.

Music from the Slocan Ramblers, Lindi Ortega and Jerry Douglas carried patrons through the afternoon before Sirius XM Outlaw Country host Elizabeth Cook pulled up a barstool to the mic inside for an amusing set of her original songs and a few comedic stories.

Outside, Virginia based The Steel Wheels began a run of memorable performances which would ultimately conclude the third annual ‘Jam in the Trees’ leaving only a late night mix of different artists in attendance to literally jam for a bit culminating with Americana icon Jim Lauderdale hosting after performing his own set earlier in the day.

Shooter Jennings and The Travelin McCourys preceded that late night session with the festival’s only back-to-back outdoor stage performances. Jennings led into his set with ‘Bound Ta Git Down’ off his new album, “Shooter” and followed with a few others mixed with some old favorites.

The Travelin McCourys then concluded this increasingly popular event quickly becoming a mainstay of Pisgah Brewing. An awesome atmosphere surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, host venue and lineup created the perfect combination continuing momentum for year four when the ‘Jam in the Trees’ returns.

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