First, a brief introduction. I am excited to be the Beacon's entertainment editor for Spring 2004. My goal is to keep the student body informed on entertainment from jam bands to pop stars, from independent films to blockbusters, from hot spots to dives, from hiking to Jell-O wrestling. The Beacon aims to be an entertainment source for all of its 26,000 students, so we welcome your unending praise, er, I mean questions and comments.
As for my passion, it's music. Music is and has always been one of my main reasons for living.
In the words of James Baldwin, All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man (or woman) who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him (or her), then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason, with my parenthetical additions.
I give my deepest respects to all of those who hear the roar of the void and impose order upon it.
The main topic of my column may seem a little late, but nonetheless I feel that it's pertinent to the entertainment world ...
As a child, there was never any question of getting excited about Christmas. It meant jumping on the bed at 6 a.m., thrashing about in a pile of presents, stuffing my face with chocolate Santas before breakfast, and scattering tinsel over every possible square inch of the house in blissful abandonment. The holidays in general seemed to loosen the proverbial straightjacket of parental rules and regulations.
Since those days have passed, I have been blindly searching for some equivalent giddiness. Growing up is such a bummer. Who says adults don't want to run around like crazies and pass out wherever they want to? Lo and behold, there shone a heavenly light; it was the Christmas jams. I see North American Christmas Jam Tour: 2004 written all over my future, but for this year as a Christmas jam virgin I got my fix with only two jams:
The Jam: Warren Haynes' 15th Annual Christmas Jam
Location: Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, N.C.
The History: Warren Haynes guitarist for Gov't Mule, the Allman Brothers Band, and Phil Lesh & Friends rounded up 25+ awe-inspiring artists to bestow their musical gifts upon Asheville. The story of the jam is one of the most heart-warming Christmas tales I've heard:
Many years ago, Warren and a group of friends started playing together in a little bar in Asheville when they were all home for the holidays.
They then decided to donate all proceeds to local charities. Before long, the get-together became a growing tradition. As it grew, Warren and friends would donate to a different charity each year. Now in its 15th year, the group of musicians, the fans, and the proceeds which now go to Habitat for Humanity are all overflowing with joy and generosity. Cups of good cheer (and beer) all around!
The Show: My companion for the night, the lovely Miss Bailey Quarles, and myself, staked out our home-base right ne xt to the beer stand before proceeding to lose ourselves (and each other) in more than eight hours of speaker-booming bliss.
First Warren played Glory Road and a beautiful solo rendition of U2's One.
Then 8,000 fans indulged in eight hours of what Keller Williams would call clusterplucking.
The clusterpluckers included the Sonny Landreth Band; Edwin McCain; Audley Freed of the Black Crowes; Kevn Kenny of drivin' n' cryin'; the North Mississippi Allstars; John Bell, Todd Nance, and Dave Schools of Widespread Panic; Keller Williams; Sam Bush; Col. Bruce Hampton; the funky Meters; Paul Riddle of the Marshall Tucker Band; Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd; Andy Hess and Danny Louis of Gov't Mule; Michael Kang of String Cheese Incident; Jeff Austin and Dave Johnston of Yonder Mountain String Band; and Greg Allman and Friends.
The most amazing part of all? Warren Haynes jammed with almost every single artist.
It was hands-down the best show I have ever seen.
My heart has never been more full of Christmas joy than when Greg Allman and Friends brought the show to a close with Dreams, One Way Out, and, as an encore, Soulshine.
With the show raising almost $100,000, there was only one thing missing: Warren Haynes' angel wings.
The Jam: J.C. Haun's Christmas Jam
Location: Barley's in the Old City, Knoxville, TN
The History: There isn't one, yet. Haun, member of the former band Left Foot Down, and current member of Limit Nine, is a well-known musician in Knoxville.
He came up with the idea of having a Christmas jam in Knoxville because, there're a lot of talented musicians around here, and we just wanted to have good time.
Sounds like a good enough reason to me.
The Show: On the eve of Christmas Eve, the Christmas jam made Barley's seem like my own home, with all of my Knoxville family there. J.C. did a spectacular job of getting a lot of musicians to collaborate and be a part of the fun.
Jomo opened with an energized, jazzy jam, before the Red House Project took the stage. When Red House took over, it became a clusterpluck of Knoxville musicians including: Stevie Jones of the former Left Foot Down and now of Limit Nine; Chris Canada of the Coveralls; Casey Archer, who played in the Black Crowes tribute; Cozmo Holloway, member of the former Van Dyke Brown and now playing with the Spades and Hitch; and Adam Adkins of the former Left Foot Down. Red House Project musicians Walker Henley (bass), Jon Sexton (vocals, guitar), Jamie Cook (drums, vocals), and Tom Pryor (pedal steel, guitar, backup vocals) played throughout the whole show, with the other musicians rotating in and out.
It made for what seemed a completely improvisational and whimsical show, carried only by the joy that was in the room. There was nothin' but love in that room, said Haun. He's already looking forward to the Christmas jam for next year. This could be Knoxville's answer to the Warren Haynes jam.

Holly Haworth is a junior in rhetoric and writing. She can be reached at olmountaingal@aol.com