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Diamonds in the Nashville rough

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The private version of the Play It Again Jam finally resumed a couple of weeks ago. The rains, which seemed to come regularly on Saturdays, finally subsided and allowed the musicians to move equipment into the studio without the fear of getting it wet.

What came on the heels of the one get-together, though, is obvious to anyone in Nashville who happens to not be in a coma. A record heat wave put The Jam back on hold, until it becomes cool enough for the players to venture out of their air-conditioned homes. It’s always something, isn’t it?

Luckily for me, at that single jam, I got a chance to make music with a collection of players who are---to a man---diamonds in this town’s rough. It turns out that I’ve written articles on just about every player that showed up, too. Gary Allen, Walter Jowers, Mike Broward and Tiger Gagan would be the familiar faces in question. Add one relatively new talent to The Jam, in the personage of Lancelot McGough on bass guitar, and the familiar vocal and guitar work of Michael Ward, and you’ve got one heck of a jam. I was in hog-heaven.

Actually, it struck me as odd that I hadn’t yet mentioned Michael, since he is a long-time participant in the Play It Again Jam. During the time that Tennessee Concerts was co-hosting The Jam, quite a few videos were taken showcasing Michael’s talent, which can still be viewed through the Tennessee Concerts website or on Tennessee Concerts TV.

Originally hailing from Jacksonville, Florida, Michael is a multi-talented musician, who has worked as lead guitarist with such names as Peter Noone, Percy Sledge and The Platters. Nowadays, he is busy being his own boss both musically and with a number of online ventures. On top of appearing locally in Nashville, Michael spends a lot of time out on the water making music on cruise ships such as Carnival, Celebrity and Norwegian.

So that people can learn more about him, and get contact information, he maintains a number of professional online sites including and

--Ken Utterback is a long-time musician who writes a blog on MySpace as well as the occasional essay for other publications. You can email Ken at:

Note from Ken: Do you have a passion for writing? If the idea of writing for the Examiner appeals to you, please click here for more information.



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