Have you ever thought about tossing on your pajamas and building the biggest blanket fort you could make, and then inviting some people over to jam inside your own personal hideaway? If you have, you probably share the same sense of nostalgic glee as the people who came up with the idea of Fort Jammies Jam Sessions. Created by local filmmaker Benjamin Charles Chase and artist Savannah Jaye Thomas, this acoustic Web series will feature up-and-coming local bands, with a focus on illuminating the diversity and refreshingly original music scene that Chattanooga has to offer.
Fort Jammies will release two episodes a month, and each episode will feature one original track and one unexpected cover song. According to Chase and Thomas, “We want this to have an impact beyond the Tennessee Valley, showing off Chattanooga as a city that isn’t just brimming with talent, but united artistically where many world-class acts are being fostered. We feel that this is beneficial to us all, not just the local music or art scene.”
For their inaugural episode, local folk rock group Talking Blues Band was asked to don their best PJs and curl up inside a lit blanket fort to perform. The band shimmies through a wonderfully breezy tune called “You and Me,” a song that revels in its almost-twee tendencies and featherweight pop inclinations. But that’s not to say that the song lacks a sense of itself, nor does it simply rely on the goodwill fostered by the band’s influences. The acoustic guitar, bass, xylophone and restrained percussion all benefit from this subdued atmosphere, and this blanket fort becomes another place where the band can hawk their wonderfully folky, pop wares.
For their cover song, they chose to perform Bob Dylan’s seminal hit, “Like a Rolling Stone,” and although I would be cautious about any band attempting to cover this song, they do pull it off quite nicely-emulating the laid-back swagger and sense of helplessness that the song finds itself steeped in. The casual and laid-back interaction between the band feels perfectly suited for this unique situation, and they manage to pay respectful homage to Dylan without sounding like one of the thousands of other bands who’ve played this song live. It’s rare that a song such as this is performed in a way that doesn’t smack of imitation, but Talking Blues Band successfully channels the spirit of the original-and singer Noah Towe even manages a good Dylan drawl.
Watch Talking Blues Band perform their own song, “You and Me,” as well as their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” below.