Melvin Seals & JGB

Melvin Seals & JGB

The Waterhole – Saranac Lake, New York

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward []

Contributing Photographer – Andrew Wyatt []

Thanks to grassojoe at YouTube for the video footage!!

March 20, 2010

Chilled bodies light shaky cigarettes. Mouths mumble in unison over the supposed arrival of spring tomorrow.

The Adirondacks are a cold and isolated place, especially during this time of year. But, with the right kind of music, and a shot of bourbon, souls can get rejuvenated quite easily in the desolate, yet unparalleled, beauty of the northern woods.

[continues after photos]

The temperature is in the mid-30s. Halfway finishing their tobacco fix, several musty characters meander back into The Waterhole- an infamous Upstate New York music venue equipped with rowdy locals and agreeable drinks prices.

And tonight, the raucous crowd shook their bones to the memorable and gracious sounds of jam-rock legends Melvin Seals & JGB (Jerry Garcia Band).

Dead family and friends alike reunite in Saranac Lake without ever making rendezvous plans beforehand. This is a common trait of the nomadic community. Whenever any form (or tribute group) of the Grateful Dead takes shape, an unspoken call for unity emerges.

Reminiscent of a “Batman” signal in the sky (but for them a skull and lightning bolt), the word spreads like wildfire. Troves head towards the sound of freedom and possibility- a tone solely unique to the late Garcia himself.

“I knew you’d be here, I fuckin’ knew it,” overzealous and hairy specimens of humanity shout as they embrace other comrades. “Let me buy you a drink! How have you been, brother?”

The scent of patchouli, pot, and Parliament Lights waft throughout the room.

The larger-than-life Seals sauntered onstage. Sitting down in front of the keyboard, a smile adorns his joyous face. It’s time to get the train rolling. He nods to his ensemble- Gloria Jones (Vocals), Jackie LaBranch (Vocals), Stu Allen (Guitar, Vocals), Marty Holland (bass), and Sam Howard (drums).

Soon, the sextet merged into one with the audience. The air becomes moist. Arms rise toward the ceiling. Sing-a-longs take over the space. The thunderous strokes of Seals dominate the ambiance. Guitar notes are sprinkled about the premises. The calming presence of Jones and LaBranch ease the spectacle- the duo double-teams harmonies, their choreographed movements slowly swaying to the jovial sight before them.

Jumping around from original numbers, to traditional melodies, and tunes cherished by Garcia, the timeframe of the sets blur.

All which remains is one moment. It is a moment where the listener and musician form a solid entity of sound, wonder, and inspiration. Midnight becomes the early morning. Eventually, it’s last call around 3 a.m.- the band packs up their gear and says goodbye to their beloved following.

The moment is all too fleeting. The blissful memory is all too scarce these days. The band is all too rare of a sight in an industry full of madness and confusion.

Our hearts, cradled by the music, are at ease- for now.

March 2010

25th (Thu) Mexicali Live – Teaneck, NJ
Melvin Seals & JGB
26th (Fri) Penn’s Peak Jim – Thorpe, PA
Melvin Seals & JGB
27th (Sat) The Warehouse – Hartford, CT
Melvin Seals & JGB

April 2010

2nd (Fri) Quixotes True Blue – Denver, CO
Melvin Seals & JGB
3rd (Sat) Quixotes True Blue – Denver, CO
Melvin Seals & JGB

May 2010

28th (Fri) Schwagstock 43 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB
29th (Sat) Schwagstock 43 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB
30th (Sun) Desert Rocks Music Festival – Moab, UT
Melvin Seals & JGB

June 2010

4th (Fri) Hopmonk Tavern – Sebastopol, CA
Melvin Seals & JGB
5th (Sat) Hopmonk Tavern – Sebastopol, CA
Melvin Seals & JGB
6th (Sun) Summer Music & Arts Festival – Benbow Lake, CA
Melvin Seals & JGB

July 2010

9th (Fri) Salty Jam Festival – Saint John Waterfront – Saint John NB Canada, NB
Melvin Seals & JGB
23rd (Fri) Schwagstock 44 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB
24th (Sat) Schwagstock 44 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB

August 2010

7th (Sat) Truckee Amphitheatre – Truckee, CA
Melvin Seals & JGB
8th (Sun) Dead On The Creek Festival – Willits, CA
Melvin Seals & JGB

September 2010

17th (Fri) Schwagstock 45 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB
18th (Sat) Schwagstock 45 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB

October 2010

28th (Thu) Spooksock 9 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB
29th (Fri) Spookstock 9 @ Camp Zoe – Salem, MO
Melvin Seals & JGB

2 Responses to “Melvin Seals & JGB”

  1. Josef Porth says:

    thankyou lots, I must comment that your website is amazing!

  2. jibboo says:

    The band is actually made up of the following players….

    Melvin Seals (organ)
    Stu Allen (guitar and vocals)
    Jimmy Tebeau (bass)
    Pete Lavezzoli (drums)
    Cheryl Rucker (back up vocals)
    Shirly Starks (back up vocals)

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