Heart of Louisiana: Loranger Jam
LORANGER, LA (WVUE) - Live bands playing bluegrass music are becoming harder to find theses days. But the Saturday Night Jam Session is known for playing bluegrass, to country, to old time every Saturday night at Chris's Restaurant, located at the main highway intersection in the small farming town of Loranger.
"A lot of us have been playing all of our lives," Jam Session organizer Aaron Dufrene said. "Since we are kids and we played in bands, different groups through the years. But we've done kind of got past that stage of life and we got tired of sitting home sleeping on Saturday.
Aaron Dufrene organized the Saturday Night Jam Session a couple of years ago with the blessing of restaurant owner Chris Babin.
When you have a bunch of musicians who offer to play at your restaurant for free every week, you say yes. And it has been a good deal for everyone.
"I didn't even know what a jam session was and I said 'well sure'," Babin said. "Well you know he says a bunch of older people sitting around and playing different instruments and music. So I said, 'sure let's try it'."
They roll from one song to the next. They harmonize on old favorites and with a nod, the lead passes around this circle of friends.
"Can't beat the pay," Dufrene said. "If they double my pay and I'd make the same thing. If they'd cut it in half, I'd still make the same thing. So we all get paid the same thing, nothing."
The dinner entertainment is free. It generates a little extra business and a few smiles and gives the performers a chance to play some of their old favorites.
Nell Cooksey is the only woman in the group.
"I love doing this," she said. "I've sang all my life and it's just something that I love to do."
Mixed in with the guitars, the piano, mandolins, fiddles and Dobro, the sound is sweetened by Sam Cutrer's harmonica.
"It's just some good fellowship with these men," Cutrer said. "We are all about the same age. We're getting kind of elderly and we all are retired so this gave us something to do; we enjoy it."
It's a sound that mixes well with the seafood specials at Chris's and gives folks in Loranger a place to have dinner along with live music on a Saturday Night.
For more information on the Saturday Night Jam Session, click here.
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