May 23-26, 2024 ❘ Martinsville, VA

Jon Stickley Hosts a Rooster Walk Tradition – the Jimmy Jam

Photo by Jody Carbone

The Jimmy Jam is a Rooster Walk tradition. Originally known as the Jammy Jam, it was renamed in 2021 after the passing of Jimmy Jordan, a Martinsville dentist, saxophone player, RW emcee, and great friend of the arts.

This year, Asheville-based guitarist Jon Stickley drew hosting duties. His band, Jon Stickley Trio, fired up the crowd with a set of originals, including tunes from his brand-new album “Meantime’s Up.” Aside from attending and playing at past Rooster Walk jams, Stickley didn’t have experience leading what he describes as “the most epic raging cluster jam.” But when he was asked to do it, he said yes immediately.

“What’s been really cool is that it’s put me in touch with a lot of new musicians who I’ve never met before,” Stickley said. “So I’m playing with a lot of people tonight who I’m just meeting for the first time. And it’s always great to get out and meet new people.”

After the trio’s opening set, some old friends were the first to join them on stage: Songs from the Road Band, a “bluegrass supergroup” quintet from Stickley’s home base of Asheville, N.C. Rooster Walk artists at large soon joined the fun, including singer Erin Lunsford, drummer Jeff Sipe, and saxophonist Ron Holloway. Empire Strikes Brass Band completed the mega-collaboration.

“It’s just one of those things where you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” Stickley says, “but you know it’ll be awesome and fun.”

Photo by Jody Carbone
Photo by Jody Carbone

Stickley’s trio is having a fun spring in the Blue Ridge region, and they are planning the band’s first trip to the Pacific Northwest to promote their album. “Meantime’s Up” represents the continued evolution of Stickley’s sound, which encompasses bluegrass, folk, jazz, prog rock, and probably 10 other genres. “I would say it’s just another step in our own direction, which kind of goes all over the place,” he says. “Everything on there is some type of new musical experiment that we’ve come up with. We’re pretty proud of it.”

Stickley says to check out the rocking track “Riders on the Night Sky,” which opens the album with a bang: “It’s way, just so different from anything we’ve ever done before.”

For now, Stickley is stoked to be back at Rooster Walk. “There’s a lot more music this weekend to look forward to,” he says. “It’s a stellar lineup as always.”