Ten Great Moments From Christmas Jam
As we approach the Silver Anniversary of Warren Haynes' Christmas Jam, we are reminded of the great moments that surfaced during this one-off charity show. Haynes assembles one of the most eclectic mix of musicians every year to descend on Asheville, NC for a good cause, and the results are every music fan's dream. From off the wall collaborations like Michael Franti and John Paul Jones to the classic pairings of Dave Matthews and Warren Haynes, Christmas Jam offers something for everyone. Let's look back at ten great moments from Christmas Jam.
Phil Lesh & Friends with Jimmy Herring "Wharf Rat" (2011)
The Christmas Jam edition of Phil Lesh & Friends (Lesh, Joe Russo, Jeff Chimenti, Jackie Greene and Warren Haynes) performed in 2011. The ties between all the musicians on stage run deeper than most familial ties, so the collaboration makes sense. While it may seem obvious, it doesn't make this performance of "Wharf Rat" any less impressive. Joined by Jimmy Herring, this jam (that segued into "The Other One") is one to behold. Due to the high ticket sales for the 2011 Jam, bookers kept the number of acts low, allowing sets to run longer. Thus, monster 18-minute jams.
Warren Haynes & Blind Boys of Alabama "Amazing Grace" (2012)
Stunning and inspirational in so many ways, this performance of "Amazing Grace" with Warren Haynes and The Blind Boys of Alabama from 2012's Christmas Jam was worth the price of admission alone. When done right (as it is here) a cover of "Amazing Grace" can hit in a big way. The combination of Haynes' guitar along with the vocal harmonies of The Blind Boys of Alabama will win you over instantly, making this your favorite new YouTube video.
Dave Matthews and Warren Haynes "Long Black Veil" (2006)
A classic combination, Matthews and Haynes are no strangers to one another. Although the two collaborated over 50 times on separate occasions, they never once performed "Long Black Veil." This one-off performance is the type of thing that makes Christmas Jam so unique to concert-goers. While many can say they've seen Warren Haynes play with Dave Matthews, only a few can say they've seen the pair perform "Long Black Veil."
Umphrey's McGee & John Bell "Ain't No Sunshine" (2010)
Anyone who attended the recent Widespread Panic/Umphrey's McGee Charleston, SC shows will be very familiar with this collaboration, as the two reprised this performance during UM's opening set. However, 2010's Christmas Jam included the inaugural performance of the Bill Withers' classic.
moe. and Jimmy Herring "Happy Hour Hero" (2009)
moe.'s lone appearance at Christmas Jam yielded impressive results, including this performance with Jimmy Herring on "Happy Hour Hero." Along with current moe. staples, the band also mixed in cuts from their 2002 album Seasons Greetings from moe.
Bill Evans, Bela Fleck and Jimmy Herring "Soulgrass" (2011)
Evans, Fleck and Herring on stage with violin virtuoso Casey Driessen, bass master Taylor Lee and the legendary Jeff Sipe on drums might be the most formidable sextet in Christmas Jam history. The amount of skill on stage is simply staggering, and as you might guess, this version of Evans' original "Soulgrass" is one to behold.
Warren Haynes and John Paul Jones "Going to California" (2008)
Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones crashed the Christmas Jam party in 2008, and no one seemed to mind. Along with appearing during Michael Franti's acoustic set (more on that later), JPJ broke out the mandolin to perform the Led Zeppelin classic "Going to California" with Mr. Haynes. Warren's childlike grin says it all, really.
Warren Haynes, Trombone Shorty and Sheryl Crow "Can't Find My Way Home" (2012)
This triple collaboration definitely gets the award for most unlikely group to produce an incredible performance. Warren Haynes, Sheryl Crow and Trombone Shorty delivered a beautiful and equally energetic version of this Blind Faith classic.
Steve Miller Band and Warren Haynes "Fly Like an Eagle" (2010)
Another first-time Xmas Jammer, Steve Miller Band rolled in with his decades worth of hits. Warren Haynes sat in for the biggest hit of them all, "Fly Like an Eagle." The tune that every child of the 90's associated with Michael Jordan dunking on the Monstars in Space Jam was made whole with this nearly fifteen minute version.
Michael Franti, John Paul Jones, Mickey Raphael "New Song" (2008)
John Paul Jones wasn't quite done in 2008 as he joined Michael Franti during his solo acoustic set. The duo, along with Mickey Raphael, best known for his work with Willie Nelson, played a brand new song they just wrote in the dressing room, according to Franti. Yet another treat in Christmas Jam lore.