James North General Store 261 James Street North

Hip new boutique, gallery, and coffee bar James North General Store just opened in June. During my first visit, I came across a poster for James Street Jams. A bunch of venues along the street were participating and the idea was to start a monthly live music crawl on the last Friday of every month along James North.

Max Wray
Max Wray

I missed out on the first one, but for July’s Jams, I recommended my friend, musician Max Wray, to General Store’s owners Mathieu and Setenio. I knew Max’s acoustic set up would be just perfect for the shop.

It was a lovely summer evening and Max began his set outside. Across the street, there was a band of musicians jamming away outside the church’s courtyard. They may have been a little loud by contrast, but Max held his own!

Max Wray with local musicians
Max Wray with local musicians

Later on, we brought the music inside and Max continued to play as customers moseyed in and out, taking a look around the shop. At one point, a couple of musicians wandered in, listened to Max for a minute, then tuned their instruments and hopped right in, mid-song. It felt like a flash mob or something – all of a sudden we had a full jam going! Which, I suppose, is the whole point of James Street Jams. I was so impressed because it seemed like it had been planned.

Check out a couple clips from Max’s set below. I hope the monthly Jams continue, or just pop up anywhere, for that matter!

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (www.ihearthamilton.ca), where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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