BREWER, Maine — Gene Lane was a popular guy Sunday afternoon. Women kept coming up to the 71-year-old Bucksport man and inviting him to dance to country music played by a live band.
Lane did not turn one of them down.
“This is the music I grew up on,” Lane said in between songs. “I like to get out and shake a leg.”
He and about 70 other people gathered in the function room of the City Side Restaurant in the North Brewer Shopping Plaza on North Main Street for the weekly Country Jam. Organized by Doug Baker, 57, and Jeannie Scripture, 70, both of Brewer, the band invites players and vocalists to join them every Sunday from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Nonmusicians come to listen and dance.
For several years, Scripture and Baker did a similar show that was televised from the Peakes Hill Lodge in Dedham. After the show lost its sponsors, Scripture said, the group moved to a hall in Eddington. Three months ago, the jams moved to the City Side.
“Here, we have the best of both worlds,” Scripture said Sunday. “People can get something to eat and we have air conditioning in the summer and we’ll have enough heat in the winter.”
Members of the group also play once a week for the residents at Ross Manor in Bangor, she said.
“We play the old-style country like Dick Curliss did,” Scripture, who’s been playing guitar since she was 14, said. “I don’t know any of the new songs.”
Baker said the group’s repertoire ranged “from Patsy Kline to Brooks and Dunn.”
That suits Philip and Jacinta Hunt just fine. The Carmel couple met four years ago on the dance floor of the Eagles Club in Brewer. He is 74 and she is 54.
“I saw those old codgers eyeballing her, getting ready to make a move, but I slipped in ahead of them,” he said.
The Hunts are at the jam almost every Sunday because they enjoy the music and love to dance.
“I used to go to country jams like this with my parents, so I feel right at home,” she said. “He’ll say to me, ‘I can’t dance no more,’ but then his leg starts bouncing to the music and we’re right back on the dance floor.”
Michelle Boulier, 47, of Waldo is one of the younger musicians who comes to the jams. She plays the flat-top guitar.
“I grew up on this kind of music and my dad taught me to play,” she said. “This music is hard to come by these days.
Lovers of traditional country music aren’t the only ones happy the jams are in Brewer now.
Tracy Kelsy, who has owned the City Side for almost seven years, said having the group meet in her function room has given her business a boost.
“It’s brought in some steady business on a day that was not particularly busy,” she said Sunday afternoon.
And the toes on her customers rarely stop tapping.
The Country Jams are held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sundays at the City Side Restaurant in Brewer. Admission is $3 and free to jammers. For information, call 356-0413 or 989-3543.