I’ve been told that tonight will be a jam night. The initial band includes two mandolins, a guitar, a banjo, and a woman on doghouse bass. They are un-miked and the crowd is pretty raucous. Outside someone’s car horn starts going off and the driver, aided by two or three friends, can’t seem to stop it. The room is full of diners and drinkers who listen with one ear while they talk and laugh. The band plays and sings a group of bluegrass standards and seems to be enjoying itself. In a back room, called the “Museum,” another eight or ten jammers straggle in and begin playing. Some players rotate into the house band while others move back to the jam group in the Museum. Some people move chairs from the main room to the museum, and everyone is having a good time.
The music has been, at best, adequate bluegrass, but that really doesn’t matter. The crowd has enjoyed itself and given The Bean a good Wednesday evening. More important, a dozen or so bluegrass musicians have had an opportunity to perform before a a live audience. It is in locations like this that bluegrass finds one of its bases. All over the country, bars and small restaurants, even McDonalds, make space available for groups of bluegrassers to make music together and to provide entertainment for others, many of whom have not been exposed to the music before.
Around we get up and leave to drive home. We’ve had a nice pub dinner and enjoyed each other’s company while listening to music. A lot of bluegrass musicians have had a chance to jam with a real, live audience, it’s February21st and the temperature is nearly 70, and all have had a good time.
The Bean Depot is located of SR 776 at the El Jobean Bridge, corner of Garden and Sturkie, across from the Mystic Station in El Jobean, Fl, between