Longtime friends, the country musicians reunite for a jam session | News, Sports, Jobs
picture by: Alan Olson
WHEELING – A get-together with friends is always worth celebrating with a little party music.
Longtime friends reunited Thursday night, bringing together a small group of musicians whose careers — or hobbies, as some insist — have brought them to Wheeling Jamboree over the past few decades. The small jam session took place in Elm Grove, with an invitational audience of just over a dozen people gathered by the time it began.
Singer-guitarist Slim Lehart said it was the second year the informal group had come together to jam this summer. He remembered their youth, when they packed the seats of the Capitol Theater.
“It’s just a little reunion, and it’s also the top of the pack,” Lehart said. “…The people here tonight are the girls and boys who rocked Capitol Music Hall every Saturday night. We put the buses on Main Street, … lots of people from Canada, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, two shows a night.
Lehart was joined by many friends in the audience and performing alongside him, including Blaine Busey, Jennifer Jean, Bob Haglock and Roger Hoard. Each had performed solo or with bands for many years since their debut, and some continue to perform to this day – Haglock said he will be performing at the Jefferson County Fair next week.
Each brought a story with them – Jean, for example, remembers riding his horse two miles from Dallas to take his violin lessons, and finally selling that same horse to buy his first bass guitar. Hoard, who had been a member of the Wheeling Jamboree staff band in 1971, did many shows with Lehart during their friendship.
The thing that musicians have in common – besides a love of music – is their strong and lasting friendship.
“That’s what we live for. We like that. It’s good to see everyone,” said Jean.
“It’s a family,” Hoard said. “We’re downsizing a bit, but we’re all still here, and we’re happy to play together, that’s why we’re here.”