Mountain Jam Music Festival in Hunter, NY celebrated their 13th anniversary with a tremendous lineup of legendary, famous and diverse musicians. Passes to Mountain Jam were an unforgettable gift for Fathers Day!
You know you’re on a ski resort when you see ski lifts overhead and snow machines beside you. RV’s and tents were discretely and comfortably located making for exceptional accommodations. Only a bit of cool light rain cast a shadow, but it’s cooling was welcome.
The Thursday night pre-party crowd packed The Healy Brothers Automotive stage in Hunter Lodge for Marco Bennevento Band, who warmed up the audience with their rendition of Sunday’s Headliner Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle.” Most of the hits they played were from their newly released album Live from Woodstock. Closing out the pre-party and reappearing on Friday night was adopted Brooklyn son Sinkane. He’s an English man via Sudan who blends kraut-rock, progressive-rock, electronica, free rock, funk and Sudanese pop, creating one big late night dance party.
The endurance award goes to the energetic Andy Frasco and the UN. The joyous smiling Frasco with his giant wavy afro played five different times during Mountain Jam. Twice he performed impromptu because he’s so much fun to dance to. Andy’s energy is so contagious the audience just needs to let loose.
The star of Friday and perennial crowd favorite was Colorado’s own The String Cheese Incident. For their debut to Mountain Jam the band played a distinct blend of rock and jam grass for about three hours. They played twenty songs spanning their 23-year career. They encored with their song “Nothing but Flowers.”
Seattle’s own The Head and The Heart also performed earlier on Friday playing energetic folk rock blended with beautiful harmonies. Their catchy tunes made for a fun sing-along. Also from Colorado was Elephant Revival who delighted Hunter Mountain with a mix of folk and bluegrass exporting the Rockies to create a Colorado high that was thoroughly delightful
Toronto’s own highly anticipated Glassnote recording artists The Strumbellas brought an exciting mix of pop folk rock. Their performance of “Spirit” lived up to The Mountain Jam video preview with the whole crowd singing along almost knowing all the words.
Warner Brothers recording artist Gary Clark Jr, a recent guest on the CBS show NCIS New Orleans brought soulful blues which rocked the mountain. He sure did not disappoint the ladies. His shredding on the guitar echoed legendary blues musicians in a Louisiana blues tradition. He’s scheduled to open for Eric Clapton in Los Angeles in September. (Did I tell you the line up was fabulous? Let me say it again).
Shovels and Rope project a big booming sound for a Southern rock duo. Hailing from South Carolina the couple delighted the crowd featured their 2013 song of the year “Birmingham.”
Saturday’s headliner Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers would have been great alone but bringing out Marty Stuart was a bonus guest playing on a classic hit. He also played plenty of hits including “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Free Falling” and “Refugee” which turned Mountain Jam into one big sing-along. The crowd knew every word of all his songs including songs from the 90’s album Wildflower.
The handsome 6’4″ Matisyahu, a Jewish American reggae vocalist and beat boxer played hits like “King without a Crown” and “One Day.” Best of all Matisyahu introduced his new album Undercurrent. Performing with his band, we were truly wowed by his control of the audience
Michael Franti, a Bay area native led the crowd in the Sunday morning yoga session. Later he and his band Spearhead played a really fun afternoon love-dance set. Encouraging the crowd to dance together and mingle was just more joy to compliment the beautiful sun shining day. His special guests were Lucas Nelson and his percussionist to magnify his great party atmosphere on this beautiful bright sun shining day, playing his hits “Say Hey” and “Sound of Sunshine.” His spouse, an ER nurse inspired their foundation Do it for the Love, supporting the terminally ill. Please go to their website and nominate a deserving hero today. It’s free for all to do.
Nashville and Hollywood Walk of fame recipient Peter Frampton sparkled as ever with phenomenal musical energy playing all his hits including “Show Me the Way” and “Do You Feel Like I Do.” He played “Black Hole Sun,” a tribute to acknowledge the recent loss of former tour mate Chris Cornell. His use of the talk box made it one of the coolest cover renditions I have ever heard.
Top headliner Steve Miller Band closed out the fabulous Jam. Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee The Steve Miller Band played an energetic sing along set including their most popular hits “Abracadabra,” “The Joker” and “Fly Like an Eagle.” The hi-light of the set was when he brought out Peter Frampton to play a rocking blues hit that awed the audience with all their skills.
With so many great bands playing with such beautiful weather, Mountain Jam 2017 was one great festival, so if there are some bands on the lineup you love, buy some early bird tickets and go jam on the mountain because you will have a blast!!!