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10 Best Mountain Jam Performances

Matisyahu, Seth Avett, Arleigh Kincheloe

With Mountain Jam 2013 just days away, we thought we’d look back at some of the festival’s best moments from years past. Since 2005, Mountain Jam has taken place annually on the slopes of the world-class Hunter Mountain ski resort in Hunter, N.Y., and each year has seen a bigger and more eclectic lineup take the stage. It certainly wasn’t easy selecting the 10 best performances from over the years, but we managed, and our picks are below. Enjoy!


The Roots, ‘Paul Revere’ (Beastie Boys Cover)

Mountain Jam VIII – June 1, 2012



Less than a month after the death of Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch, the Roots hit the stage of Mountain Jam VIII to rock a stellar performance of the B-Boys’ classic ‘Paul Revere’ in his honor.



Citizen Cope, ‘Let the Drummer Kick’

Mountain Jam IV – May 31, 2008



Singer-songwriter Citizen Cope appeared at Mountain Jam IV, turning in a groove-heavy version of ‘Let the Drummer Kick,’ a tune off his 2002 self-titled debut album.



Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, ‘Make It Rain’

Mountain Jam VIII – June 1, 2012



Brooklyn, N.Y.’s own Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds headed upstate in the summer of ’12 to show off their eclectic blend of gut-busting soul and new-school funk. Here, the nine-piece act perform ‘Make It Rain.’



Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, ‘Why Is It So Hard’

Mountain Jam VIII – June 1, 2012



Few performers today are as impassioned as Charles Bradley, a former James Brown impersonator who signed with funk revival label Daptone Records in 2002 and finally issued his debut album, ‘No Time for Dreaming,’ in 2011. ‘Why Is It So Hard’ is a definite standout, and he performs it here with his six-piece backing band, the Extraordinaires.



Ben Folds Five, ‘Song for the Dumped’

Mountain Jam VIII – June 2, 2012



Ben Folds Five reunited for their first proper concert performance in more than a dozen years as one of the headliners of Mountain Jam 2012. Check out bassist Robert Sledge’s unplugged guitar cord solo at about the two-thirds mark of this, their run-through of ‘Song for the Dumped.’



Travelin’ McCourys, ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ (Foster the People Cover)

Mountain Jam VIII – June 1, 2012



This ain’t your little brother’s version of ‘Pumped Up Kicks.’ The Travelin’ McCourys are joined by Virginian guitarist Keller Williams for a bluegrass version of the song that put Foster the People on the map.



Portugal. The Man, ‘People Say’

Mountain Jam VII – June 4, 2011



Alaska-born, Oregon-based progressive rockers Portugal. The Man were a part of the Mountain Jam lineup back in 2011. Watch them here performing ‘People Say,’ the lead single off their 2009 debut album, ‘The Satanic Satanist.’



Matisyahu, ‘One Day’

Mountain Jam VI – June 6, 2010



Another Brooklyn-based act headed north as Jewish rapper Matisyahu hit the stage of Mountain Jam in 2010 to perform ‘One Day,’ the gold-certified single from his 2009 album, ‘Light.’



Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, ‘Home’

Mountain Jam VII – June 5, 2011



This infectious number may have been a tad overplayed when it surfaced on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ 2009 debut album, ‘Up From Below,’ but it’s always a welcome addition to any set list — and this 2011 performance is no exception.



The Avett Brothers, ‘Just Like a Woman’ (Bob Dylan Cover)

Mountain Jam VII – June 4, 2011



The Avett Brothers teamed up with Simone Felice of Upstate New York rockers the Felice Brothers at Mountain Jam VII for a compelling cover of the Bob Dylan classic ‘Just Like a Woman,’ which first turned up on the folk-rock icon’s 1966 album ‘Blonde on Blonde.’


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