What exactly is Old Time roots music?

Well, now what exactly is Old Time roots music?

How an Old Time Jam works:


People usually sit in a circle at a small jam.  Circles can grow and grow right out of the door or the fence…..and it can get wild.  Jammers take turns calling out a tune to play, and then the playing begins (the tune is either started by whoever called it out, or a fiddler who knows it).  At most old-time jams players don’t take “breaks” (i.e. – instrument solos) as is the case typically at a bluegrass jam.  Rather, everyone plays in unison, but improvising harmonies at this Old Time Jam is welcomed!  The tune will usually be repeated multiple times (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes sometimes!)) so that everyone can get into a nice groove, and to help those unfamiliar with it learn it.  Since most banjo and many fiddle players re-tune to get into different keys, jams will typically stay in one key for a while so they don’t have to re-tune a lot.

For a good description of this beautiful and bouncy music click here to see the link to bubbaguitar’s website, posted by the late Bill Martin. http://www.bubbaguitar.com/huh.html

For a longer, thorough exploration of the history and meaning of Old Time music check this out:
wikipedia Old Time Roots Music

Here’s a great personal definition and history of Old Time Music by Josh Turknett.  Josh also describes Old Time Jams and how they work: