Jam bands are a common occurrence in the music world – you’ve either been in one (or many), had a friend in one, or have most likely attended at least one jam session. But more often than not that is all they are, freestyle music get togethers where everyone has fun making noise and the concept of a ‘band’ is never considered. That, however, was not the case for Jamtown, a new music group composed of longtime veterans Cisco Adler, the son of famed music producer Lou Adler who has pursued the same profession becoming a Grammy winning music producer and writer; G. Love of the Philadelphia blues infused G. Love and Special Sauce; and Donavon Frankenreiter, duo surfer and surf rock poet.
Jamtown was born in Malibu, CA in December 2016 over a span of ten groove filled days. Donovan and G.Love were coming to record an album at Cisco’s Bananabeat Records that they, and a lot of other people, have been wanting to have happen for years. The album was was going to be called the BBQ Record – the concept of which G. Love described as: “What can you bring to a bbq? Acoustics, acoustic stuff, but nothing you could plug in.” Entering the studio to begin recording, what happened can only be called kismet for the moment they entered the studio a “wormhole opened, and we just had to jump in”. As G. Love describes the experience: “Sometimes when you go into a studio you become your own worst enemy. You have so many ideas you want to project. I walked into the studio and Cisco was like ‘Check out this groove I just laid down’ and I was like ‘Wow’ that is a sound that I have never heard before in my life but also the oldest sound ever; we had the first song banged out in an hour. It was fucking great and that was how it went every time we went into the studio. We just had to be open every time and let if flow.” Voila, wormhole. Ten days and ten solid songs later, Donovan turned to both Cisco and G. Love and said, in what they described as Matthew McConaughey-esque: “We’re a fucking band.”
Though their name, Jamtown, seems to merely refer to the idea of a jam band, for the trio it goes deeper. Cisco describes ‘Jamtown’ as “this place that is is symbolic; a place where you can leave all your shit and your troubles behind and just bring an instrument and your craft and have a good time. That is the spirit of this.” And that spirit is definitely what the trio brings to their music and on the stage. Not only are they proud of their music and living off the high of the project falling into place, but they are having “the best time of [their] lives up there on stage. Having have worked our entire life to find something that is purely enjoyable to do in the lane of something that we wanted to do (music) and it’s amazing”. Not only are they living the dream by getting paid to do what they love despite being self-described “weird travelling circus men”, but this opportunity is also a type of artistic rebirth: “This is a unique opportunity for us as individuals to be a new artist again, which, as a musician who has been at this for over twenty years, that is the most valuable present you get gifted as a new artist.”
After performing a few shows this spring and over the summer–including the Arroyo Seco Weekend which was only their seventh performance as a band–Jamtown looks to recording a full record this coming fall, possibly in October or November: “Now we have a little bit of a roadmap and know what Jamtown is, we know the pieces in our band, and we know what will work”. Though the heart of Jamtown is Cisco, Donovan, and G. Love, the band, when performing live or recording in the studio, is actually nine members. The other six members, according to Cisco, are “some of the baddest motherfuckers around” including: Robert Randolph, the soul/funk/jam infused steel pedal guitarist from Robert Randolph and the Family Band; Citizen Cope; and Jeremy “Beardo” Gritter.
Catching the wave and letting the good times roll, Jamtown has got the positivity, energy, and experience to be jamming for many years to come. So come on down, Jamtown is waiting.
Interview and Feature by Meaghan Allen