John Street Jam, which met for years in the social hall of Saugerties Reformed Church on John and Main Streets, has returned in a new form. Following concerts at the Orpheum Theater, the jam is back at the church, though the performance on Friday, August 5 was held inside the church. The John Street Jam brings together the area’s best musicians in an intimate setting.
The Jam started in 2007, organizer and master of ceremonies Steve Massardo said, making this the 15th year of John Street Jam music, though the venue and the format have changed.
The program featured Maria Sebastian, a quiet country/singer-songwriter who performed wistful music. She also performs classic country, alternative rock and rock.
Joining Sebastian for part of her set was Doug Lambert. Both musicians are from Buffalo and Sebastian suggested the Jam might consider a performance in Buffalo sometime.
Sebastian said she met Lambert about seven weeks ago at a show at the Sportsmeen’s Tavern in Buffalo. The following night she saw him again, at a Woodie Guthrie show, and they have been practicing and performing ever since.
Eric Squindo described his musical influences as Townes Van Zant and John Prine. During Friday’s performance, he was more upbeat, playing harmonica and guitar. He is the founder of ESP — Eric Squindo Presents, which organizes tribute shows featuring local talent.
“The first time I played at the John Street Jam, I was living in Pennsylvania,” said Squindo. “I stumbled across John Street Jam on a website and I found you guys and I came.” He has since played at the John Street Jam several times.
Also performing in the Jam was New Paltz’s Amy Laber, who is described as “a potent reminder of the power of simplicity and the magic of an open heart.” Her latest CD is “Mountainside Wildflower.”
In their performance at the Reformed Church, Laber played both the guitar and a five-string banjo, giving the performance a true country sound, while Squindo added a harmonica to create the effect of a trio.
The next show in the series will be on September 2, 6:30 p.m., in the barn at Kiersted House. Featured musicians will be Jim Pospicil and Stephen Clair.