Courtesy of Christmas JamEx-Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes has unveiled details of the 29th annual edition of his star-studded Christmas Jam benefit concert, scheduled for December 9 at U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina. This year’s show will include a special appearance by Heart frontwoman Ann Wilson, who’ll join Haynes’ band Gov’t Mule for a portion of their set.
This will mark the first time Wilson will perform at a Christmas Jam. In August, she teamed up with Gov’t Mule for a special performance at the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia.
The lineup for the 2017 Christmas Jam also features Les Bros., which includes founding Allman Brothers Band drummer Jaimoe and other Allmans alumni; Phish‘s Trey Anastasio and his side group Classic TAB; The Avett Brothers; Blackberry Smoke; and more.
The concert, which is expected to run for over seven hours, will benefit the event’s longtime beneficiary: the Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity charity. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday October 26, while pre-sale tickets and VIP packages will be available starting this Thursday, October 19.
In conjunction with the main Christmas Jam show, a number of related events will be held in Asheville around the date of the benefit concert. “Xmas Jam by Day” gigs will take place at the Asheville Music Hall and that venue’s affiliated club, The One Stop, while an art and photography show will be hosted by a local gallery.
In addition, the annual “Before the Jam, Lend a Hand” event will bring fans, artists and staff members together to help build houses funded by money raised by the Christmas Jam.
For more information, visit XmasJam.com.
Ann Wilson of Heart - In Focus
The increase in music festivals has been reaching a critical mass over the past few years. Newer festivals, often featuring larger mainstream acts, have been popping up. Festivals come and go, sometimes leaving chaos and disappointed fans in their wake. It’s hard to see exactly what will appeal to a wide enough base to support an event. Some festivals are going for the “bigger is better” approach, with multiple stages and plenty of activities and events outside of the music. Others, including the Lockn’ festival, are going the opposite direction. One band at a time. No significant breaks in the music. No major attractions outside of 4 days of straight, uninterrupted music. It’s a risky move, but it’s wonderful when it works well.
It’s not easy to put together 4 days of music without using multiple stages. You need to make sure that the entire lineup works. If a significant portion of the fans don’t like whatever band is on at 6:00 on Friday, that’s a problem because they don’t have any other options. You’re giving yourself one shot to get it right. Luckily Lockn’ knows it’s audience and pulled off a very difficult task. 4 days of music for jam band aficionados, and not a dud in the bunch. 4 days of fun and dancing, and no need for much in the way of outside entertainment. 4 days in the beautiful hills of Virginia with nothing but the music.
Five years ago Lockn’ set out to be a festival first and foremost about the music. 2 stages, so no breaks. Plenty of guest appearances and surprises. No overlaps or conflicts. A setup specifically for folks looking to focus on the music and nothing but the music. There has been plenty of growth over the years, including the addition of a forest area, the introduction of the rotating stage, and, in 2017, a complete re-mapping of the grounds, moving the main stage to be in the same area as the side stage. They tightened up the festival footprint, made the grounds easier to navigate, and made 2017 a rebirth of the event. This led to a festival that felt in many ways like a big community gathering, and the organizers and bands throughout the weekend did their best to cultivate that feeling.
Ann Wilson has been pushing boundaries since the release of Heart’s debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976. Wilson joined the band in the early ’70s at the age of 22, and her younger sister, Nancy, soon followed suit. Between Nancy’s guitar virtuosity and Wilson’s killer vocals, the two changed the face of music, reframing preconceived notions of who and what rock stars could be. Songs like the opening track on Dreamboat Annie, “Magic Man”—which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—marked a significant shift in rock lyricism to the female perspective. By channeling her lived experience through songwriting, Wilson echoed the feelings and experiences of a wider array of female listeners, solidifying her place as a pioneer in a male-dominated industry.
“When I first started out in music, I was answering a call to be a musician,“ says Wilson. “I was raised by a mother who just said, ‘Well, you can do whatever you want, why not?’ So I really took that to heart. I never once stood away and looked in at myself and said, ‘Oh, you’re a pioneer.’ I was just looking from the inside out and went, ‘I’m doing this!’ But the net effect is that younger people or women or whoever have watched me and others and gone, ‘Well, yeah, if she can do it, I can do it.”
The 2017 edition of LOCKN’ at Infinity Downs Farm in Arrington, Virginia was in full swing yesterday, with its first full day of music featuring sets from The Marcus King Band, Anitbalas, Blackberry Smoke and more. Gov’t Mule was featured as one of last night’s headlining acts, sandwiched in between two sets of Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band. Unexpected pairings have become the tradition at LOCKN’ as it was announced prior to the fest that Mule would be joined by Ann Wilson of Heart during their scheduled slot.
The Southern-jam titans kicked things a cover of The Staples Singers’ “Hammer & Nails.” From their the old-school “Thorazine Shuffle” came ahead of a strings of tunes from their latest studio album – “Stone Cold Rage,” “Traveling Tune,” “Revolution Come…Revolution Go” and “The Man I Want To Be.” The four-piece act than reached back for “Game Face,” which segued into a section of the Allman Brothers Band classic “Mountain Jam” before returning back to “Game Face,” with a crowd-pleasing “Soulshine” following.
Warren Haynes & Co. next welcomed Ann Wilson of Heart to the stage. The augmented act kicked things off with a pair of Led Zeppelin covers, with Wilson handling lead vocals on “Immigrant Song” and “Black Dog,” from Zep III and IV. Next up came a take on Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth,” a track that Mule included on their 1995 self-title debut album. From there Wilson did her best Janis Joplin impression with a take on “Cry Baby,” a song that was originally recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, but one that Joplin put her signature stamp on. Wilson closed things out with Mule with a take on one of her own tunes, leading the band through “Magic Man,” from Heart’s debut album Dreamboat Annie.