Blind Beggar Pub records open mic jam sessions

robin kuniski/for metro calgary


Bryan Rumsey of Calgary hammers out his best songs at Blind Beggar's Untapped Open Studio Jam yesterday afternoon. The jam is one of 150 live music events taking place around Calgary in the month leading up the 2008 Juno Awards.

Sunday afternoons in Calgary are quiet, peaceful times for some. For a growing number of others, the Blind Beggar Pub opens its doors to local music talent in an open mic session.

What sets the Beggar apart from a typical jam is soundman Dave Walley is recording your jam. When you come back to play again, you get a complimentary copy of the last session.

"The recording is the most important thing," said Walley, who has seen a marginal increase in the number of acts since January – largely due to word-of-mouth.

Walley’s friend and emcee of the open jam, Aubrey Hogan, has a commitment to seeing local music thrive.

"We want to get guys coming in and meeting other musicians," said Hogan.

"A sense of community is a big part of it."

In its short existence the pub jam has seen a medley of people coming in and sometimes playing with people they met only moments before taking the stage

"Sometimes it’s magic and sometimes it’s a train wreck," said Hogan.

Calgary musician Bryan Rumsey, 21, has been coming to the jam for three weeks and feels that locations like the Beggar host is what is right with music at the grassroots level.

"It’s hard to find a place that brings in the crowds," said Rumsey, who now considers the Beggar a great place to be found after playing open mics for five years in the city.

Over 150 live events like the Blind Beggar jam are a part of the March month of music culminating with the 2008 Junos to be held in Calgary on April 6.

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