Can I Get A Volunteer?

Heather Jakeman at the Can I Get A Volunteer video shootCan I Get A Volunteer, the single from country artist Heather Jakeman may not be a sensation yet in Nashville, but you can bet it will be getting a lot of attention in Knoxville this Fall.

It turns out that the song is set to be part of the craziness at University of Tennessee football games at Neyland Stadium this season – including a recently-produced video in which a number of bluegrass artists appear.

Former Mountain Heart fiddler, Jim VanCleve, was involved in both the recording of the single and the video shoot, and shared this story on how it all came to pass.

Nashville superpickers assembled by Jim VanCleve for Can I Get A Volunteer?“Had a VERY cool opportunity last week. I had been leader on a country session over at Blackbird last year for a new artist, and even had used a couple of Mountain Heart guys on the session. My great friend David Hall was producing and it was a very fun song – a summertime/party/rowdy kind of thing. It was called Can I Get a Volunteer.

The artist was a girl named Heather Jakeman, and she sounded great! It was very evident from the lyrics that the song was tied directly to the hip of the University of Tennessee Football tailgate-party atmosphere. Decidedly country-radio friendly; the track really did have legs.

Anyhow, I got a call a couple weeks back asking if I could re-create that musical crew, or something close to it, for a video shoot. The details were a bit vague going in, but I remembered the song. One thing led to another, and it eventually led to me putting together a full scale band, replete with background singers and all for this shoot.

I was floored when I wrapped up the band – an A list studio crew by any measure – which would be lip syncing for video! Irony at it’s best. I knew that with Seth Taylor, Josh Shilling, Bryon Larrance, Guthrie Trapp, Cameron McLaughlin, Wendy Moten and Vicky Hampton, we had a band that could tackle most any job – but especially air guitar and lip syncing!

Video shoot at UT for Can I Get A VolunteerWhat I didn’t know, however, is that the shoot was going to be literally on the scale of a Monday Night Football Shoot, directly on the field over at UT. It was NUTS!

When we arrived and went inside, we were all kind of like ‘Whoa.’ The stage and set was right on the field, the entire UT Football team was there, stage dancers, about a hundred extras, 8 cameras, a couple of booms, wardrobe, hair, make-up, about 50 crew members, a wall of LED screens as backdrop for the stage… just an all-out full scale production. It was pretty wild. I’ve done several video shoots and even some fairly good sized television productions, and they’re usually… well, smaller.

Video shoot at UT for Can I Get A VolunteerIt turns out that the UT Football program loved the track so much, they decided to adopt it, which led to the video shoot. Now they apparently plan to make it their game day JumboTron hype song for this years home games! So, if anybody is going to be at a UT home Football game this season, it seems that it’s likely they’ll see the video we shot. There’s also talk of some network TV half-time show type stuff as well, so we may have just begun our adventures with the Volunteers!”

Always a good thing to see some bluegrassers getting good exposure!”

Well done Jim, et al.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.