2019 Artists

Jim Kweskin
(Boston, MA)

Jim Kweskin is the founder of the legendary 1960s Jim Kweskin Jug Band. No other group attained their unique blend of youthful energy and antiquarian expertise, tight musicianship, loose camaraderie, and infectious swing.
These days Jim is best known as a singer and bandleader, but he also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Pink Anderson to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician, and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist. Because of his vast repertoire and love of the music, Kweskin is recognized as one of the best interpreters of the great American songbook.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton – NYC

Although only in his 20s, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good. Paxton may be one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists that you have not heard of. Yet. And time is getting short, fast.  Paxton performed to a sold out audience for the Lead Belly Tribute at Carnegie Hall on February 4, 2016 along with the likes of Buddy Guy, Eric Burdon, Dom Flemons, Tom Paley, and other stars. It is no exaggeration to say that Paxton impressed.

Shake Em Up Jazz Band
(New Orleans, LA)

The Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band is an all-female supergroup made up of some of the most sought-after young stars of the New Orleans Traditional Jazz scene. Since their formation in 2016, The Shake Em Up Jazz Band has enjoyed a steady stream of bookings at various New Orleans clubs and festivals, including Preservation Hall and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The band includes St. Louis favorite (and former Pokey LaFarge band member) Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and vocals.  Chloe and her quartet sold out their Focal Point Friends of Traditional Jazz, Blues, and Ragtime show earlier this year.  Also featured is Marla Dixon on trumpet and vocals  (Marla is also the leader of the Shotgun Jazz Band; Shotgun headlined our inaugural jazz series in 2017).  Additionally, the band includes: Molly Reeves on guitar and vocals, Haruka Kikuchi on trombone, Julie Schexnayder on bass, and Defne Dizzy Incirlioglu on washboard.  Last year, the band headlined Focal Points Second Annual Jazz Series and sold the room to absolute capacity; crowds of people who missed out on tickets listened from the street.

The Jake Leg Stompers 
(Knoxville, TN)

The Jake Leg Stompers evoke the rebellious spirit and colorful pageantry of American popular music before the Second World War, from the Memphis blues to the Virginia Reel; when jazz began, vaudeville was urgent and folk music was still dangerous.

From their headquarters in Bucksnort, Tennessee, the Jake Leg Stompers serve up tangy tastes of chicken-fried, pre-war, hokum-billy jug music to gourmet audiences everywhere.

Juggernaut Jug Band 
(Louisville, KY)

The Juggernaut Jug Band is celebrating 50 years of continuous entertainment from the birthplace of jug band music, Louisville, Kentucky.

What do you get when you blend jazz, blues, and ragtime with washboards, washtubs, kazoos, jugs and various other sundry hardware? Nothing less than a strange concoction called the Juggernaut Jug Band. Based out of Louisville, Kentucky, the Juggernauts have proudly kept early twentieth century jug music alive and well since 1965, when four high school lads discovered jug band music made them feel just fine!

Cincinnati Dancing Pigs 

(Cincinnati, OH)

The Cincinnati Dancing Pigs are Cincinnati’s premier Jug Band. They have been around since the early years of the Rolling Stones, have lasted longer than the Beatles and have more living members than the Grateful Dead. In the Cincinnati Enquirer they were once compared to the Julliard String Quartet, although not favorably. They have played at every Tall Stacks, at the Cincinnati Bicentennial Celebration, for the runners in the Flying Pig Marathon, many times in the summer concert series at the amphitheater in Eden Park, for the Art Museum, for a sit down dinner on the observation deck of the Carew Tower, and in many bars, back yards and living rooms throughout the area. From country club weddings to pig roasts to 4th of July parties, they have shamelessly wound up audiences at every variety of event.

Steel City Jug Slammers
(Birmingham, AL)

Say hello to the Steel City Jug Slammers, a group of young musicians playing traditional and homemade instruments. Like juke-joint heroes of the early 1900s, they perform Delta blues and old-time jug music. In Birmingham, you might find the Steel City Jug Slammers busking at the fountain in Five Points South, or doing a late-night show at The Nick.

Miss Maybell and Charlie Judkins

Miss Maybell & Charlie Judkins, are a one of a kind musical duo hailing from NYC who formed on a mutual love of vintage hot jazz, blues and ragtime music from the 1910’s – 40’s! Charlie Judkins is a practitioner of Ragtime, Traditional Jazz and Blues piano, as well as a lifelong Brooklyn native.He also works as a silent film accompanist at various theaters in the New York area, and recently began providing piano scores for silent animation archivist Tom Stathes’s series of Blu-Ray releases. Miss Maybell is a one of a kind contralto singer, musician, and band leader specializing in a classic Vintage Jazz, and Blues sound.”Miss Maybell plays banjo and taps her steel brushes on a tricked-out washboard. She also commands an impressive kazoo, but the secret weapon they unleash is Maybell’s vocals — deep and strong enough to join an angel choir with the likes of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.” – New Hampshire Magazine

2019 Photographs

Photos by Michele Korfhage