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Whether you call it a Jam, a Guitar Pull or a Song Circle, there’s just something special about sitting around with a group of musicians playing and singing along with each other. Talking about songwriting, sharing techniques and ideas, inspiring one another. There is a freedom to being unplugged. You can play along as quietly as you like, or you can bang away if you know the song. Playing with strangers increases the chance of that magical musical moment when the guy with the accordion plays a perfect solo on your song. And when you’re playing your song, eyes closed as you dig in, and you hear those beautiful harmonies coming in from all directions *sigh* it can make you levitate. There’s a lack of pressure in a song circle. It’s not a gig, it’s a get together. The circle feels intimate and private even if folks outside the circle are listening. You’re with your brethren playing, sharing, singing. You’re with incredible seasoned songwriters and a few folks who are performing in public for the first time, all in the same circle. It’s safe. It’s joyful. It’s your turn!

There are many ways to circle or pull or jam, but I wanted to share information about (and give you a standing invitation to) Listen Local’s Song Circles.

Our circles are unplugged. On purpose. We understand that it's hard to hear us, some players are louder than others. If you're having trouble hearing you are welcomed to scoot closer to the circle so you can hear better (and maybe sing along!). Our circles take place a few times a month in Ramona. The first Tuesday of the month at Pamo Winery from 5pm to 8pm and the 2nd Thursday at Smoking Cannon Brewery and beginning in March we'll be back at Old Julian Vineyards and Winery on the last Sunday of the month. There is no cost to participate in our circles. ALL genres and skill levels are welcomed. You can join or leave the circle at any time you please, space permitting. Squeeze on in but be mindful of folk’s personal space.

Bring your own unplugged instrument and just as importantly, bring your own comfy pickin’ chair. You don’t want to bang your guitar on the arms of a random chair and you want to leave those chairs for your fans and the guests of the venue so they can sit and enjoy the show.

The circle rotates clockwise. When the circles comes to you, you can play any song you like. We love originals but covers are fun too. Before you begin your song, you can tell the circle the chords and/or share charts/lyrics. You can also just invite people to figure it out on their own and play along. You can also respectfully ask that no one play along. Maybe you’d just like feedback on a new song? You’re also welcome to simply sing or play along with others and you can pass when the circle comes to you. If you are figuring out someone’s song, we love it when you noodle or sing quietly until you got it, then bring it on!

We welcome keyboards but cannot guarantee there will be a place to plug in. If there is access to power and the venue is ok with you using it, you may need to bring your own extension cord, etc. Percussion instruments are welcomed but we love it when you play them at an appropriate volume as they can really carry and drown out the unplugged stringed instruments which make it hard for folks in the circle to hear each other. For that same reason, drums are not encouraged. Feel free to bring what you have, though, and we’ll let you know if it’s too much. Thank you for understanding.

Ok, that’s it! Join our Facebook Group Listen Local’s Song Circle | Facebook to stay posted! Holler at Cathryn@ListenLocalRadio.com with any other questions!