5enses • 4
Wednesday Jammin’ at Jersey Lilly’s by Carlos de Gonzalez
rescott is known for a lot ofthings. We’re home to the world’s oldest rodeo. The entire state visits “Arizona’s Christmas City” during the holidays.
Whiskey Row has its own attractions, historic and alcoholic, and has survived more than one catastrophic fire. But did you know that, within some ofthose buildings on the Row, there is fantastic music to be heard? One great spot is upstairs at Jersey Lilly’s Saloon. Yes, the ambience is old- fashioned, yet inviting. It’s comfortable and the staffis very friendly, especially April, who regularly tends bar. Her cocktails are delectable, and the bar offers draft and bottle service. But back to the music: every Wednesday night between 7 and 10pm, musicians from different walks oflife get on stage and share their craft. Glenn Walker has been hosting this incarnation ofthe jam session for two years and has played guitar for over 50. He is deeply passionate about sharing music with audiences. Every week he brings a PA board, two or more speakers, and a guitar amp. Open-mic sessions first started at Jersey Lilly’s in 2007 and continued for three years. At the time Glenn’s job demanded more ofhim, so he had to travel extensively for a while, but couldn’t resist playing for long, and popped in when he could. Unbelievable as it may seem, the year that open-mic started at Lilly’s there was hardly any live entertainment on the weekends, and nothing during the week. Glenn says, “I love that it engages new talent, and that people feel comfortable.” One ofthe most important things to him is that everyone he plays with is really engaged and encouraging. He would never do it ifthey weren’t.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, but had to decline. He was so passionate about music he built his own recording studio on Lincoln Street, later bought by Taul Paul Epoch, another great local harp player. Sadly, there hasn’t been Glenn found out about Prescott on Findyourspot.com, anything like it since. Taul Paul is an incredible harmonica player, with great depth and tone, and learning about the music scene locally, he was drawn in. The core group on stage (Glenn, Devell, and Jimmy) have played together for years, and has been playing since the mid-’80s. His first and most important inspiration was his dad, who attended the Juilliard School right after he and Glenn’s main act is called Walker and Company. served in World War II. Why does he like playing at Jersey Lilly’s? The Devell Riley, the main drummer, has been playing for over 50 years biggest reason is the host, Glenn Walker, who has great musicianship and and brings his own drum kit, not only so he can play, but also to share it with other drummers who want to play. His family played various instru- is very fair about getting everyone to play. Another reason is the diehard passion ofthe fans. They show up, ments, leading him to explore his own flair for music. For him Lilly's is an dance, and provide a lot ofsupport. There’s also the generosity ofthe muopportunity to pay it forward: “Music is a gift that you don’t keep, you sicians toward one another. Week in and week out, there’s a special cashare it with the people around you.” maraderie and vast array ofaccomplished players that go through the Jimmy Jam Peck is a phenomenal guitarist and all-around musician, lineup. In Paul’s words: “It really is an amazing thing to witness and be a and Lilly’s is very fortunate to have him there every week. His style feels full, and you can tell that his heart is really involved when he plays. Even part of.” Also among the talent at Jersey Lilly’s is Travis Brockett, 26. He’s been while serving in the military he still found time to play, now for over 55 serious about acoustic and electric guitar for five years, although it sounds years. Jimmy has played with several famous musicians. One ofhis most like he’s been playing for a decade. Drums are an addition to his main notable feats is that he wrote the song “Mary Had A Little Lamb” — well, a more bluesy and fun version ofthe title, later to be made famous by talent, and he plays those well too. He started coming in September and Stevie Ray Vaughan. He also played with the Allman Joys, with frontmen has loved it ever since. Feeling welcome his first night, he keeps coming Duane and Gregg Allman, who later became, you guessed it, the Allman back, and enjoys the fact that the jam is welcoming to virtually anyone Brothers Band. To add to the repertoire, he also got a chance to tour with who can play or sing, and that it’s very accessible. His biggest inspiration
behind playing? The thrill he feels playing and hearing the music. It runs deep, to the core. Leslie Earl Lyman, 59 and another fantastic musician, has been performing and writing music for over four decades. He draws from a multitude ofinfluences. “There have been so many great players and songwriters in multiple genres that have inspired me to grow as an artist,” he says. Les has been performing regularly and supporting the Jersey Lilly Jam for years, within months ofits inception. He feels that “Playing at open mics and jam sessions are incredibly important to a healthy and diverse music scene … and I have a lot offun.”
And then there’s me, Carlos, your reporter. I was born in
Chicago in 1980 and moved to the Prescott area in 2010. I’ve been joining in at Jersey Lilly’s jams since August, and have experienced some of the most inspirational moments ofmy life. I’ve played the harmonica (“harp”) for 17 years and enjoy every moment ofit. Drawing on musical experience and influence from my mother, who was a professional singer, I joined junior high school choir, and continued singing within educational institutions until 1998. I also started learning violin in 1996 and put it away in 1998; not knowing then how much I would grow to appreciate such a beautiful instrument. The harp is a lot offun to play, and I’m primarily self-taught. My biggest blues influences are Little Walter, the Blues Brothers, Ricci, Paul Butterfield and Curtis Salgado, who not only taught me a few things about playing, but was also involved in writing the script for the movie that hooked me into playing most: The Blues Brothers. There are several others who have played through the Jersey Lilly’s Jams, and too many to name here, but everyone has fun and it’s likely to continue for years to come. Many who jam out have played or still play in bands outside ofWednesdays. Prescott is lucky to have such great local talent and a thriving music scene for a town ofits size. All the musicians bring most oftheir own equipment and aren’t paid, so tips are definitely appreciated. So what are you waiting for? Come party with us! Ifyou can sing or play music, get on stage. Ifnot, get on the dance floor! Carlos de Gonzalez is a regular contributor to 5enses.