JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Scene
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 6, 2013
JAMerica: The History of the Jam Band and Festival Sceneby Peter Conners
Da Capo Press, 288 pp., $25.99
In 2009 with Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead, Peter Conners staked his claim as an enterprising music writer. His follow-up has its moments, but there are problems. While chronicling an important part of the American musical landscape, JAMerica's oral history never weaves its strands together, leaving the reader always flipping to the character key in the back of the book to figure out the various participants. How many people can ID the bass player from Moe? Otherwise, Conners gathers major actors on the scene, including members of the Grateful Dead and those that followed the path they blazed – Widespread Panic, Phish, the String Cheese Incident, etc. The N.Y. origins of the HORDE tour and individual takes on the music from a wide variety of musicians make for interesting reading. If presented with Conners' interpretive voice, JAMerica would be indispensable.