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Jam at O'Hurleys Gen Store, WV, hits 30

Claymore 06 Apr 09 - 04:10 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 09 - 07:24 PM
Claymore 07 Apr 09 - 11:09 PM
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Subject: Jam at O'Hurleys Gen Store, WV, hits 30
From: Claymore
Date: 06 Apr 09 - 04:10 AM

Folks who were on the MudCat back in '99 might remember a thread I started about the long standing jam which occurred at O'Hurleys General Store on every Thursday night in Shepherdstown, WV, for as long as anyone could remember. I started playing there in '93 after moving to Shepherdstown from an adjacent county in Virginia. To the uninitiated, Shepherdstown is about 80 miles up the Potomac from Washington DC, about 10 miles up from Harpers Ferry, and right across the river from Antietim Battlefield. The Town is the oldest in West Virginia and one of the oldest in Virginia (1742). It is an art/university/theater arts/epicenter of folk music of all types, with retired CIA and ex-hippies getting along by going along, and you can say anything you like as long as you're polite. Due to the patronage of Marse Rob't (Sen. Robert Byrd) the local area is peppered with large numbers of Federal Government agencies. Back about 15 years ago, Marse Rob't figured out that what went up to a satellite could come down in West-by-God Virginia. So the town is knee deep with the Shadow Government, and we have not been hit with the terrible hardships of other locations.

In those days we literally played while sitting around a pot bellied stove but in '98 Jay Hurley, with the assistance of several friends (Including myself) completed an addition to the store, which carried Jay's original concept to a logical but grand conclusion. With exposed beams from an old barn, a three-story brick fireplace, and a dormered tin roof, with random plank floors, made from an old oak tree felled out back of the store, the Great Hall was finished. Jay has always bragged that he carried much of the same merchandise as was carried in the 1903 Sears catalogue. It was while working on clinch nailing the floor that we discovered musical properties of the room, and to make my point I got Genevieve O'Loughlin to play her harp while we judged the best locations for sound. As it turned out, there were no bad spots, and a room that was originally built to display turn of the century merchandise became the music room on Thursday nights. Over the years the word was passed that the place to be on Thursday night if you liked folk, Irish or Old-time music was O'Hurleys. Usually we have some 10-15 musicians and singers, and an audience turns up to around 50, and it's been this way for years. I know several Mudcatters have come to the jam over the years, including CarolC, Roger in Baltimore and I think Bobert made it one night, though I seem to remember him playing the Mecklenburg and the Blue Moon café.

As it turns out, Fredrick Magazine, a local magazine from the Maryland side of the Potomac, recently attended the 30th anniversary jam at the store, and created a music and slide show as part of their website, while publishing an article using the same photographs. I need to ask Joe Offer if he would be able to go the magazines website and copy the music and slides to a "blue clicky". Its at, and click on the multimedia button. My current computer uses 2000ME and won't support the latest bells and whistles, but I do plan to upgrade soon.

All this to say that if you are in the area it's worth it to drop in one night; that you'd be welcome and, as the slideshow demonstrates, its not bad music.

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Subject: RE: Jam at O'Hurleys Gen Store, WV, hits 30
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 07:24 PM

I added links to Claymore's post. I haven't been to the general store, but I've wandered around the vicinity many times, in conjunction with my Getaway trips. It's a wonderful area.
The earliest Claymore message I found on the General Store jam was this one from 2001. Can somebody find an earlier one?

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Subject: RE: Jam at O'Hurleys Gen Store, WV, hits 30
From: Claymore
Date: 07 Apr 09 - 11:09 PM


Thanks for the assist in setting up the "blue clicky" even if I can't see it myself (I'm running an "unsupported system"). I have seen the video on a disk from on of the others players, and know that I am not in the slide show except for my guitar (the presentation Larrivee with the Vine and Vase enlay, easy to spot).

Actually during the period I first started corresponding on the MudCat, I was signed on as "GUEST; Carol's Friend Don", as I tried to figure what these new computers were for. And I was also writing to other web-sites concerned with autoharps, sound reinforcement, and Comhaltas. I might have remembered one for another.

In the background shots of the Great Hall filling up and you will notice three flags hanging down from the rafters, the Irish Republic flag, the Irish American flag with the Harp and "Erin Go Bragh," which is a simplified copy of the flag flown across the river at Antietim, and the Northern Irish flag, in order to acomodate all of the parties in the store. Back in 2000 we also flew the Israeli and Syrian flags during the 2000 peace talks in Shepherdstown.

Thanks again Joe for the assist.

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