Little did Jay Matheson know when he started Jam Room Recording Studio in Columbia in 1988 that it would become a destination for bands from all over the East Coast who would record thousands of records there in the years to come.
A University of South Carolina graduate with a degree in media arts, Matheson has stayed active in bands, starting with the metal band Tempus Fugit in the early ’80s, Goth band Bachelors of Art in the late ’80s and various country and punk bands through the ’90s and 2000s. Now he plays in ’70s-style rock band The Distributors, as well as the Capital City Playboys, a rockabilly band that will play at this year’s Famously Hot New Year celebration with Trombone Shorty.
In 2012, Matheson assembled a group of volunteers to put on the first free Jam Room Music Festival to celebrate his studio’s 25th anniversary. This year marks the festival’s fifth year and will feature a dozen bands on Columbia’s Main Street on Saturday, Nov. 12.
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My new breakfast spot is Devine Cinnamon Roll Deli. It’s quick, reasonable, and they are working hard to make something new and fresh. My lunch standard is El Burrito. They are fresh, healthy, fast and super friendly. For dinner, I spread it around. A few faves are Blue Cactus, the Whig and Nicky’s for a quick slice sometimes.
I spread my drinking around a bit. When I’m near the Jam Room, it’s at the Kraken and downtown, The Whig and sometimes Bourbon for a fancy cocktail. Goat’s when in Five Points. A lot of my drinking is done at music venues as well. A pint of Guinness is my most common poison, so any place with that is fair game.
I love The Music Farm, New Brookland Tavern and Art Bar for live music. They all have a certain appeal, and we’re lucky to have them here. The quality of acts at quite a few local festivals has improved a lot as well. First Thursdays and other Main Street arts events have been a regular places to catch good music, too, if you pay close attention to listings.
We have a lot of great spots for fun here. Biking to Soda City Market on Saturdays is good, and Harbison Forest is a great place to bike and hike. Cayce has great trails on the riverfront and beyond.
I like biking around town. It’s not the most bike-friendly city quite yet, but if you know it well, you can find safe ways to reach most of the fun places downtown, in Five Points and beyond. There’s lots of beauty and interesting places in Columbia for those who like to look up from their phones and TV screens. Trustus and the Nick are great spots for spending an evening.