Music Mecca In Meridian

Chisholm Trail Plaza Jam: GQ Custom Guitar Jam Session brings local musical talent together live on the same stage under the stars

MERIDIAN – “If the house is rockin’, don’t bother knocking; kick off your shoes, start losin’ the blues,” Stevie Ray Vaughn sang in a song inviting everyone in for a fun time. Music always brings people together; and that is what happened at the GQ Custom Guitar Jam session at the Chisholm Trail Plaza in Meridian May 7. Close to 200 people enjoyed a beautiful evening in the new multi-functional venue.

In collaboration with the Meridian Parks & Recreation, Glenn and Donna Quarles hosted one of their open mic evenings where musicians come together to play primarily Country Western music with some spiritual songs mixed in. All attendees needed to bring was a dish for the communal meal and some good vibes. And as the sun went down, the breeze picked up, there were many good vibes in the air, leading to humming and singing along and dancing.

Among the many gifted musicians from all walks of life who took the stage in different combinations were Brian Barrett acoustic guitar and vocals, Jack Cameron acoustic guitar, Chad Holt on guitar and vocals along with the Chizlers’ Kevin Chambliss on electric and acoustic guitar and Marty Filandro on bass, David Partain – mandolin and vocals, Jean Hamilton – guitar, and bassist Beaver Randolph of the Bosque River Band, bassist Blake Barrett, Sheffie Kadane on keyboards, guitarists Ken West, Markus Miller, Mark Jackson and Rick Anderson with his custom 12-string guitar. Everyone was welcome to come onto the stage, like Robert and Tonia Garza as well as Kat Lindquist, who sang songs dear to their hearts.

The jam sessions started simply featuring all acoustic instruments at the Quarles home about three years ago as a grand opening of Glenn’s GQ Custom Guitars business. But both guests and musicians had such a good time, they decided to host a jam session on a regular basis. What started with about 40 guests has grown to about 200 guests per session, and it’s turning into a bit of a music Mecca.

In this jam session, Quarles introduced a special hybrid guitar he made for Cranfills Gap First Baptist Church pastor Brian Barrett. He called this exceptional, one of a kind guitar an acoustic guitar capable of Humbucker licks.

“It started as a guinea pig guitar,” Quarles said of this hybrid. “For all I knew, it might not sound worth beans. But as soon as Brian strummed it, we knew it would work. As far as I know, this has never been done before.”

The video shows Barrett showing the versatility of the instrument, playing acoustic first, then hybrid and then electric only. He spontaneously came up with a song to go with the guitar “what you need is a GQ 333 to keep you warm at night.”

These GQ jam sessions are the place to be for up-and-coming as well as established musicians to get the exposure and for the pure fun of playing together in an undetermined group of musicians. A close friend of the Quarles and proud owner of a GQ guitar Country music award-winning star John Berry is bound to show up sometime. Texas Country singer Deryl Dodd has already showed up a time or two.

So next time you hear about a GQ Custom Guitar Jam Session, don’t miss what is sure to be a special night of music.

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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