My grandfather plays steel guitar and we have been talking about my son and I going up to his house to jam with him for a while. We've just never been able to get it together. I have a semi-regular acoustic jam at my house most weekends with my son, a friend of mine (Scott) and me and occasionally, another friend who is a songwriter and an amazing guitar player (Tim). I realized that instead of trying to do something separate, I just needed to invite my granddad to that jam. We do a little country, but mostly rock stuff, but everyone is open to doing whatever, we just have fun. So, I finally got everyone on board for yesterday afternoon. We started off without Tim, and started with one we do regularly, Some Beach by Blake Shelton. My granddad just fell right in and it sounded great. My son and Scott were playing acoustic guitars and I was playing electric bass. My granddad showed us an old country song and it took a little bit, but we started picking it up.
One thing I noticed over the course of the day was my listening skills getting better. Normally, I listen to a song I'm trying to learn and pull up chords on the internet or just watch the guitarist's hands to see which chords he's playing. Having someone just play the melody and say "it's in G" made me really listen for the changes. I could tell I got much better at it as the day progressed. Good thing most old country songs stick to the I IV V and maybe have a ii or iv in there.
We ran through Workin' Man Blues, which is one was all knew. My son taught us "Bloodshot Eyes" by Trampled By Turtles (if you haven't heard them, check them out. Modern bluegrass). My granddad showed us another one, "The Way I Am" by Haggard. Tim showed up around this time and just started doing what he does, which is play completely by ear and throw perfect fills in wherever they need to be. We re-did some of the ones we had already done. My son said he needed to leave for a little bit and shows back up with part of his drum kit. He sets up kick, snare and high hat and starts playing with brushes. We did a faster version of "Workin' Man Blues", "Pride and Joy", "Move It On Over" and a couple other rockers. My granddad hung right in and played along.
My buddy Tim does an amazing acoustic version of Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went Down to Georgia" where he plays both the guitar and fiddle parts on an acoustic guitar. After hearing him do it, I learned the bass part and we had attempted it once before, but it was after I hadn't practiced it in a while and I had forgotten some parts. Last night, he asked if I was ready to try again. We kicked it off and everyone in the house came and just listened. Other than the bass part during the devil's solo, I nailed it. We learned some more stuff after that and ended up playing for about 5 hours. Everyone had a blast and we all plan on doing it again. I'm still grinning about it this morning.
Edit to add a picture my wife took.