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Jubilee 2017, Sat Sept 16

2017-09-28T04:08:36+00:00

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton headlines 13th National Jug Band Jubilee

LOUISVILLE, KY, (June 16, 2017) “ The National Jug Band Jubilee is excited to announce that Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton will headline its 2017 festival. The Los Angeles-born vocalist and multi-instrumentalist was recently featured in the “American Epic Sessions,” the last episode of the four-part PBS documentary American Epic which chronicled the development of American roots music. Paxton™s music draws from country, blues, and early jazz music. According to Will Friedwald of the Wall Street Journal, Paxton is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation “ playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements “ to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ’30s, the blues of Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson.

Paxton’s grandparents moved from Louisiana to California in 1956. These southern roots had a profound impact on him. Listening to his hometown blues radio station, as well as the old Cajun and country blues songs his grandmother used to sing, Paxton became interested in these early sounds. He began playing the fiddle when he was 12, and picked up the banjo two years later. He has since added piano, harmonica, Cajun accordion, ukulele, guitar, and the bones to his musical arsenal. Paxton, who is legally blind, is one of the few African American banjo players touring today.

The 2017 National Jug Band Jubilee takes place at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater on River Road in Waterfront Park on Saturday, September 16. Festivities start at Noon. In addition to hosting some of the greatest jug bands from around the world, the 2017 Jubilee will include an expanded vending area featuring food trucks, local artists, and children’s workshops between bands. This is a FREE and family-friendly event. We are also excited that several jug bands that are in town for the Jubilee will be doing shows in local elementary schools on Friday, Sept 15th. This furthers our mission of education and preserving this unique form of Americana music that got its start here in Louisville.

The National Jug Band Jubilee was created to celebrate the legacy of jug band music in the River City. Louisville is the acknowledged home of jug band music, a pre-war jazz style that features traditional and homemade instruments. In the late 19th century, African American musicians walked the streets of the River City playing tunes on improvised instruments like empty liquor jugs (“the poor man’s tuba”), kazoos and washboards. By the time the sound reached its peak in the 1930s, it had infiltrated towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, especially Memphis and New Orleans.

Jubilee 2017, Sat Sept 16 2017-09-28T04:08:36+00:00

Grammy-winner Dom Flemons headlines 12th National Jug Band Jubilee

2017-04-02T01:08:48+00:00

National Jug Band Jubilee 2016

www.jugbandjubilee.org

Grammy-winner Dom Flemons headlines 12th National Jug Band Jubilee

LOUISVILLE, KY, (July 30, 2016) – The National Jug Band Jubilee is excited to announce that Grammy Award-winning artist Dom Flemons will headline its 2016 festival. Flemons is the “American Songster,” pulling from various traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has played live for over one million people just within the past three years. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry.

The 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee takes place at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater on Saturday, September 17. Festivities start at Noon. This is the festival’s 12th anniversary and the organizers have a few special treats for fans this year. In addition to hosting some of the greatest jug bands from around the world, the 2016 Jubilee will include an expanded vendor’s area featuring more local artists, there will be several children’s workshops between bands, and much more family-friendly fun.

Headlining the 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee will be a return engagement for Flemons since the Carolina Chocolate Drops performed at one of the first incarnations of the festival. The National Jug Band Jubilee was created to celebrate the legacy of jug band music in the River City. Louisville is the acknowledged home of jug band music, a pre-war jazz style that features traditional and homemade instruments. In the late 19th century, African American musicians walked the streets of the River City playing tunes on improvised instruments like empty liquor jugs (“the poor man’s tuba”), kazoos and washboards. By the time the sound reached its peak in the 1930s, it had infiltrated towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, especially Memphis and New Orleans.

 

Grammy-winner Dom Flemons headlines 12th National Jug Band Jubilee 2017-04-02T01:08:48+00:00

G Burns Jug Band leader returns home for 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee

2017-04-02T01:08:56+00:00

National Jug Band Jubilee 2016

www.jugbandjubilee.org

 

For Immediate Relief *                                                               

*  Jug band music relieves tension

Contact:     Heather Leoncini
(502) 417-1107
juggernautpr@yahoo.com

G Burns Jug Band leader returns home for 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee

LOUISVILLE, KY, (August 26, 2016) – Clinton Davis of San Diego’s “G Burns Jug Band” is coming home! The Louisville native was first inspired to play jug band music after hearing the Juggernaut Jug Band as a child. Now the multi-instrumentalist and his jug band will be sharing a stage with that group as part of the 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee.

This year’s festival will be headlined by Grammy-Award winning folk artist Dom Flemons, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Headlining the 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee will be a return engagement for Flemons since the Carolina Chocolate Drops performed at one of the first incarnations of the festival.

The 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee takes place at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater on Saturday, September 17 from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. This is the festival’s 12th anniversary and the organizers have a few special treats for fans this year. The Little Loomhouse will have a booth in the festival’s expanded vendors’ area. There will be several children’s workshops between bands, and much more family-friendly fun.

 

Here is the current lineup:

The Bourbonville Buskers (Louisville, KY)

Ever-Lovin’ Jug Band (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)

Side Street Steppers (Memphis, TN)

Cincinnati Dancing Pigs (Cincinnati, OH)

Juggernaut Jug Band (Louisville, KY)

The Gallus Brothers (Bellingham, WA)

Burns Jug Band (San Diego, CA)

Dom Flemons (Raleigh, NC)

 

The National Jug Band Jubilee was created to celebrate the legacy of jug band music in the River City. Louisville is the acknowledged home of jug band music, a pre-war jazz style that features traditional and homemade instruments. In the late 19th century, African American musicians walked the streets of the River City playing tunes on improvised instruments like empty liquor jugs (“the poor man’s tuba”), kazoos and washboards. By the time the sound reached its peak in the 1930s, it had infiltrated towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, especially Memphis and New Orleans.

 

2016  NJBJ web poster

G Burns Jug Band leader returns home for 2016 National Jug Band Jubilee 2017-04-02T01:08:56+00:00

Dom Flemons headlines Jubilee 2016!

2017-04-02T01:09:02+00:00

The National Jug Band Jubilee is very excited to announce that Dom Flemons will be headlining this year’s Jubilee on Saturday, September 17th! It’s a homecoming of sorts as Dom was at the 2006 & 2007 Jubilee with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. We are very happy to have him back! http://www.domflemons.com/

Dom Flemons headlines Jubilee 2016! 2017-04-02T01:09:02+00:00

Jubilee 2016 – Saturday, September 17th

2017-04-02T01:09:15+00:00

Mark Your Calendars!

Jubilee 2016 will be held on
Saturday, September 17th

at Brown Forman Amphitheater
in Louisville, Ky’s Waterfront Park
right next to the decoratively-lit Big-4 Bridge

It’s FREE, Family Friendly, Fun…

and nestled into Waterfront Park’s beautiful Brown-Forman Amphitheater,

Jubilee 2016 – Saturday, September 17th 2017-04-02T01:09:15+00:00

11th Annual National Jug Band Jubilee Bringing Fun Downtown

2017-04-02T01:09:22+00:00

NEWS  FROM:

National Jug Band Jubilee

www.jugbandjubilee.org

For Immediate Relief *                                                                Contact:

*  Jug band music relieves tension                                                                  Heather Leoncini

(502) 417-1107

juggernautpr@yahoo.com

 

11th Annual National Jug Band Jubilee Bringing Fun Downtown

LOUISVILLE, KY, (August 15, 2015) – The 2015 National Jug Band Jubilee takes place at the Brown-Forman Amphitheater on Saturday, September 19. This is the festival’s 11th anniversary and the organizers have a few special treats for fans this year. The highlight of the 2015 National Jug Band Jubilee will be recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Juggernaut Jug Band. Formed at Waggener High School in 1965, the Juggernaut members have spread the gospel of jug band music throughout the nation through their concerts, workshops, and volunteer work. The Juggernaut Jug Band is also one of two bands, the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs being the other, who have performed at every National Jug Band Jubilee!

The 2015 National Jug Band Jubilee also has a lot of other fun scheduled. In addition to hosting some of the best jug bands from around the country – and for the first time this year – CANADA, this year’s festival will include a special children’s jug band performance, several workshops between bands, and much more. Author Michael L. Jones will be on hand to autograph copies of his book, “Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee”, winner of the 2014 Sam Thomas Book Award from the Louisville Historical League.

The complete line-up for this year’s Jubilee is below:

  • Juggernaut Jug Band – Louisville, KY
  • Steel City Jug Slammers – Birmingham, AL
  • Side Street Steppers – Memphis, TN
  • The Gallus Brothers – Bellingham, WA
  • Ever-Lovin’ Jug Band – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • Bones, Jugs N Harmony – Urbana, IL
  • Cincinnati Dancing Pigs – Cincinnati, OH
  • Bourbonville Buskers – Louisville, KY
  • How Long Jug Band – Portland, OR

The National Jug Band Jubilee was created to celebrate the legacy of jug band music in the River City. Louisville is the acknowledged home of jug band music, a pre-war jazz style that features traditional and homemade instruments. In the late 19th century, African American musicians walked the streets of the River City playing tunes on improvised instruments like empty liquor jugs (“the poor man’s tuba”), kazoos and washboards. By the time the sound reached its peak in the 1930s, it had infiltrated towns up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, especially Memphis and New Orleans.

###

11th Annual National Jug Band Jubilee Bringing Fun Downtown 2017-04-02T01:09:22+00:00

2015’s Jubilee Schedule

2017-04-02T01:09:31+00:00

1PM – Bourbonville Buskers – Louisville, KY
2PM – Bones, Jugs N Harmony – Urbana, IL
3PM – Cincinnati Dancing Pigs – Cincinnati, OH
4PM – WORKSHOP
5PM – Side Street Steppers – Memphis, TN
6PM – How Long Jug Band – Portland, OR
7PM – Ever-Lovin’ Jug Band – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
8PM – Steel City Jug Slammers – Birmingham, AL
9PM – Juggernaut Jug Band – Louisville, KY
10PM – The Gallus Brothers – Bellingham, WA

 

 

2015’s Jubilee Schedule 2017-04-02T01:09:31+00:00

Sat, Sep 19 announced as 2015 Jubilee!

2017-04-02T01:09:38+00:00

Mark Your Calendars!

Jubilee 2015 will be held on
Saturday, September 19th
at Brown Forman Amphitheater
in Louisville, Ky’s Waterfront Park
right next to the decoratively-lit Big-4 Bridge

It’s FREE, Family Friendly, Fun…

and nestled into Waterfront Park’s beautiful Brown-Forman Amphitheater,


Sat, Sep 19 announced as 2015 Jubilee! 2017-04-02T01:09:38+00:00

The Juggernaut Jug Band: More than just a sense of humor and cool names

2017-04-02T01:09:44+00:00

A club owner in Bloomington, Ind., hired the Juggernaut Jug Band because she felt her customers wanted a break from the “heavy” music they’d been hearing.

Those customers – if they’ve been force – fed the Curt Kobain – influenced whining that inhabits much of today’s popular music – likely will be caught completely off-guard by the Juggernauts’ retro look, the array of tools with which they attack their craft and their generally positive outlook.

“We are a good-time group,” explained Gil Fish, who plays bass and a handful of other instruments and has been a Juggernaut since 1968. “So much music nowadays is such a downer. It’s full of angst, and this is good-time music.”

Ditto for fiddle player Tin Pan Alan. “So much happens to make you sad. It’s not that we’re trying to block that out – we’re just trying to provide a vacation from it.”

And the 50-year-old Roscoe Goose, who helped form the band around 1965, summed it up this way: “Anybody, even if they’re 90 years old, if they have a kid inside them, they will enjoy this music.”

The band, which includes guitarist Jim Balaya, offered these testimonials in a Subway sandwich shop before a recent show at the Comedy Caravan in the Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road. Early in the conversation one learns that every other word is a wisecrack with this group, but they speak of their craft with genuine enthusiasm and passion.

Once they took the stage, there was no denying that these guys, more than anything, are merely playing music they enjoy, basking in the pleasure they can impart on an audience for about 40 minutes.

Roscoe (they asked that their stage names be used in this article), whose distinguished silver hair and moustache and gray suit threaten to belie his affable demeanor, employs instruments ranging from the traditional jug to a nose flute to a washboard fitted with cans, cow bells and a cymbal.

Gil (or “The Amazing Mr. Fish”), 46, who alternately plucks an acoustic bass guitar and an old-fashioned washtub bass, fills the stage with a Burl Ives-like presence, and Tin Pan, ponytail dangling from beneath his fedora as he fiddles and plays his harmonica, provides an image of what your grandfather might look like if he were a musician.

Then there’s Jim, the band’s “Generation X guitarist,” who at 30, thin and with longish hair, looks as though he would be more comfortable in a video on MTV’s “120 Minutes.”

Not so. “This is very different,” he said when asked why he chose a jug band over something more trendy and more likely to earn money. “I like the music. (The band’s) big slogan is that it’s 1920s rock and roll.”

Actually, the 50-year-old Tin Pan interjected, Jim is merely another middle-aged musician in disguise. “It shows what Geritol will do,” he said.

The audience, as it filed into the club that night, stared in wonder as they noticed Roscoe’s mutant washboard. To the right of the stage, garnering attention as well, hung a “Juggernaut Jug Band” banner complete with the band’s logo – a jug with angel’s wings and an eyeball.

A forest of guitars sprung up from the stage, flanked by various other instruments including Tin Pan’s fiddle and Roscoe’s trumpet.

Onto the stage bounded the four Juggernauts and they opened the show not with some decades-old jug band standard, but with the Doors’ “People Are Strange.” It was quite the effective paradox.

The band also proceeded into versions of the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” (a work of art which would make Ray Davies proud) and Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” complete with kazoo solo.

“We have fun with them and we love doing them,” Roscoe said of the parody covers, “but it also helps the audience to relate to us.”

The band has also been known to spin a Beatles song and includes “Pinball Wizard” on its regular set list. If nothing else, the band said, it illustrates their diversity.

“Bluegrass bands all play bluegrass music,” said Gil, “but jug bands play anything,”just with jug band instruments.”

Interjected Roscoe, “It’s not just a kitchen band kind of thing, there’s more music going on.”

It’s the spirit of jug band music to play songs from various musical genres, he said. “When (Jerry) Garcia died, the New York Times reviewer said (the Grateful Dead) had a jug band approach to what they did – it was unusual. And it’s fun. The reason you do it is because it’s so much fun to do.”

“It’s post – modern,” quipped Tin Pan. “It’s the music of the future today.”

Even if it isn’t trend-setting, the fun part is certainly true. During “Chicken Pie” (an original written by former Juggernaut “Dr. Don” Oswald), Gil tosses a rubber chicken into the audience. One would think the cost of all those chickens would eat into the band’s profits, but Gil didn’t seem worried: “We’ve started breeding them – it’s easier.”

In fact, he continued, “it’s getting where they’re bringing them to the show and throwing them back.”

And following an adept rendition of Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher,” the band broke out the “heavy ammo” – namely the novelty instruments – for Balaya’s original, “It’s Like I’m Psychic.” From there they progressed into the frantic “Coney Island Washboard,” where Goose puts his cans and cow bells to the test.

One of the most memorable moments, however, is during the highly improvised rendition of “Pinball Wizard” when Goose swivels his hips and engages the audience with a hyperbolic Elvis Presley impersonation.

As his bandmate gyrates about, Gil informs the audience that they are witnessing “the world’s worst Elvis impersonator … with a wedgie.”

This is Tin Pan’s favorite part of the live show. “It’s funny every time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Elvis – er, Roscoe – said his favorite element to the live show is the adrenaline and chemistry generated within the band.

” … When everything is clicking and we’re all in the groove, playing; when I might forget to sing or play because I’m so caught up in what’s going on.”

It’s hard to believe all this originated with an art form created more than 70 years ago, thanks in large part to horses. The jug band heritage

It was in Louisville in the 1920s when jug band music was born; a blend of Dixieland jazz and blues performed on standard instruments such as the guitar, violin, banjo and mandolin, it introduced into the mix the sound of a piece of pottery – a stoneware crockery jug.

And while it may seem strange or even silly to the untrained eye and ear, it is an instrument that is mastered by its original players just as great pianists and violinists master theirs.

The washboard and even spoons were also popular additions to these bands, who could easily transport these inexpensive and readily available instruments into downtown where they played on street corners to huge acceptance – with the one exception being the police, who didn’t appreciated the traffic jams.

Nevertheless, by 1923 Louisville jug bands were being recorded. Clifford Hayes’ Old Southern Jug Band was one such group, one which included a jug, violin, tenor banjo, six–string banjo and cornet.

The jug was used because of its deep, rich sound, and it set apart those bands which included it in their ensemble. These odd instruments also gave the bands a novelty look, and the players would put on a visual show which matched the stunning musical one.

Much of the success of these jug bands, which began chiefly as a part of black culture, can be attributed to the Kentucky Derby. Each year in May, wealthy people would come to Louisville, bringing their money with them. In an attempt to share in this feast of wealth, musicians would take their show downtown.

Soon, jug bands became almost as much a part of the Derby tradition as thoroughbreds. People holding Derby parties in downtown hotels like the Seelbach would employ these bands to entertain, and there the musicians found much money to be made.

Shows included plenty of fun, dancing, theatrics and humor. Many, if not most, of these bands were comprised of accomplished musicians, which made the entertainment that much better.

The craze quickly spread to Memphis, Tenn., where Will Shade’s Memphis Jug Band, one of the most famous jug bands, was formed. Other famous jug musicians followed, such as Henry Miles, whose Ballard Chefs was so named because they was under contract to the Ballard Flour Mills to promote Obelisk flour, the company’s premium band, according to a 1980 story in the Louisville Courier Journal’s Sunday Magazine. The band consisted of guitar, banjo, violin, string bass and, of course, a jug, which anchored the rhythm section.

This band toured the South, playing to crowds as large as 3,000.

In that Sunday Magazine article, Miles himself recalled some of his greatest peers, including Rudolph Thompson and Earl McDonald, who he called “the king of jug players.”

Unfortunately, this popular music form’s surge began to falter as cities like Louisville became more populated. As street traffic became thicker, the Sunday Magazine article states, motorists more frequently complained to police about the crowds which would gather around jug bands who played on corners.

Critics in the 1940s led a campaign to drive the jug bands away from Fourth Street and Broadway, and musicians, discouraged, moved on to other cities, where they were never met with as much enthusiasm. Eventually, they would pursue other musical interests, those with which they could earn a living, and their jug bands dissipated.

Miles’ band endured, playing into the 1960s, and others sprung up here and there, but jug band music was never the same, especially after the passing of McDonald in 1948 and Rudolph in 1966.

Tom Sobel, a high school friend of Gil and Roscoe and owner of Comedy Caravan, believes jug band music is getting the shaft from the very community in which it was born, especially from local music promoters who don’t provide more of a forum for the musical form.

“I’ve felt for a long time our community should embrace jug band music and its history in the same manner that New Orleans holds Dixieland and Mardi Gras,” said Sobel, a former manager of the Juggernauts. “As Dixieland and Mardi Gras got together, jug bands and Derby go together.

“I’ve been surprised that the community of Louisville has buried and forgotten its rightful place in music history as the birthplace of jug band music. I have met jug bands from all over the United States, and jug bands from all over look at Louisville with a great deal of reverence.”

Even though the musical form is now asleep in comparison with its early success, it has not died, thanks in part to groups like the Juggernaut Jug Band.

“We’re four white guys who are tapped into a black tradition that got going in the ’20s. There’s a rich tradition that nobody really knows about,” said Goose. “To do this now … we’re crusaders, because we love the music.”

In an essay on jug band music penned for Folkways Records in 1963, Samuel Charters wrote “In an important sense … the jug bands and their music will always be part of the American musical scene. They flowered at a time when American folk music was being recorded, when country music and city music of every kind was being released by nearly every record company.

“On the early recordings there is still the sound of the jug band, with all of its swagger, all of its sensitivity, and, in a sense, all of its musical grandeur.”

This, of course, was written with the assumption that, along with the jug band masters, the musical form itself would become extinct. That was exactly two years before Roscoe Goose would discover jug band music.

Along came Roscoe 

At age 15, Roscoe (then known as Stuart Helm) was asked by his older brother and his brother’s friends to play washboard in their jug band. He accepted. That group existed for only a year, but three years later high school seniors Roscoe and Dr. Don asked Gil (a.k.a. Steve Drury) to play washtub bass with them in the school vaudeville show.

“I got the bug,” said Fish.

Since then, the Juggernaut Jug Band has taken on several various incarnations. Dr. Don went on to form Dr. Don and the Love Dogs. Roscoe went on hiatus for 14 years while Gil carried the torch with various different members.

Then about three years ago, Sobel asked Roscoe to put together a jug band to play in his club.

The two longtime Juggernauts found Tin Pan Alan, an experienced musician who started out playing folk music on the coffee house circuit back in the 1960s. Jim Balaya was in a rockabilly band known as the Simpletones, and he was introduced to the band by former Juggernaut guitarist Pat Lentz. Balaya’s interest in vintage music styles brought him on board, and the Juggernaut Jug Band of the ’90s was born.

Sobel won’t take any credit for the band’s refocused energy.

“I’ve never played any music – they’re the fellows with the talent. I was just glad to have a venue where the type of kooky crazy funny music they make could be welcomed.”

“The best thing that ever happened was when Tom asked me to put the band back together,” Roscoe was quoted as saying in the band’s press kit. “It was a real struggle for a long time, but it seems that when we got (Alan and Jim) together things have started to click.”

Indeed they have. Over the years, the Juggernaut trail has wandered through 37 states, and the band continues to travel, playing music festivals and state fairs in the East and Midwest. (The band enjoys telling the story of a Dearborn, Mich., outdoor show during which a bird dive-bombed the stage and nearly hit Roscoe in the head. “It was very attracted to shiny objects,” he said.)

And when they’re in town, catch them every Thursday at Comedy Caravan and look for them at local music festivals such as Kentucky Music Weekend, which is held each summer in Iroquois Park.

In August, the band released its first-ever album on compact disc and cassette, a collection called Perhaps You Don’t Recognize Us ….” It was recorded at Ramcat Productions (located on Barrett Avenue in Louisville) and was engineered by Ben Andrews and Sam Gray.

The CD has lent the band another dimension of legitimacy and helped them to book more gigs. Sales, according to Jim, have been “embarrassingly low,” but Roscoe is quick to note that the CD was produced more for promotion than for sales.

“It gives you credibility,” he said.

Added Jim, “It was not a money-making venture.”

The CD, while it cannot hope to capture the band’s theatrical appeal, showcases the band’s musical adeptness, its humor and its sweet vocal harmonies.

And, yes, it includes a variety of instruments, from the jug and washboard to bird whistles and duck calls, not to mention Alan’s violin, Gil’s bass, Jim’s keen guitar and Goose’s impressive range on a number of instruments.

Among the selection are a number of band originals, one of which was written by Jim (“It’s Like I’m Psychic”) and two that came from Dr. Don (“Chicken Pie,” “Drive In Show”). The band agreed it was more devoted to its live show and keeping true to the music’s origins than in writing new material.

“I wrote my mom a letter to tell her I was in a jug band,” said Alan. “That’s all I’ve written.”

Two of the band’s signature parodies – “Black Dog” and “People Are Strange” – landed on the CD, as did a number of jug band music classics. One of those is McDonald’s “Chicken Tree,” which has come to be a jug band standard.

The recording, pristine and energetic as it is, has created another dimension to the band, Jim said. “People that like the CD the most are the ones who have seen us play.”

And that number is growing. It doesn’t hurt that a couple of local radio stations occasionally play the parodies during their morning shows, and the band even did a promo track for NBC.

Not that commercial success is their goal. They each have day jobs – Jim works at Third Planet Music, Alan and Roscoe are jack-of-all-trade handymen, and Gil owns and operates The Hitching Post, a saddle shop in Middletown – and they are intent on sticking to their guns when it comes to paying homage to the music they love so much, right down to wearing hats onstage, a mark of the early jug bands.

Depending on who you talk to, there is also a second reason the Juggernauts don headgear. “When we take off the hats, we can walk about unnoticed,” said Roscoe.

And even though many people aren’t even sure what jug band music is (one of the local music stores even stocked their CD in the “bluegrass” section), they will keep playing it as long as it’s fun. Judging from the fact they’ve been doing it off and on for more than 30 years, chances are the Juggernaut Jug Band will be around for a while longer.

And chances are they still won’t be using their real names.

“I don’t even know their real names,” said Alan, nodding toward his bandmates.

The Juggernaut Jug Band: More than just a sense of humor and cool names 2017-04-02T01:09:44+00:00

New headstone to honor early blues guitarist

2017-04-02T01:09:50+00:00

Pioneering Louisville blues guitarist Sylvester Weaver — promoted as “The Man with the Talking Guitar” when he recorded in the 1920s in New York — will receive an encore tribute Saturday.

Member of the Kentuckiana Blues Society and organizers of the annual Jug Band Jubilee waterfront festival held each September in Louisville will hold a public dedication ceremony for a new illustrated headstone for Weaver (1896-1960) on his birthday, July 25, at Louisville Cemetery.

Weaver, who grew up on Finzer Street in the Smoketown neighborhood, also “discovered” Louisville jazz singer Helen Humes and recorded with her, says Keith Clements, a Blues Society leader. Humes went on to become a famed jazz vocalist who was a featured soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra.

While Weaver’s achievements were not widely known after his initial splash, local blues aficionados have sought to recognize him in recent years.

The dedication event will be at 3 p.m. at the cemetery, 1339 Poplar Level Road, near Eastern Parkway, where Weaver is interred at a site with a small marker that was installed in 1992 at his then-unmarked grave through the efforts of the Blues Society.

Last year, both groups raised money to put in an illustrated headstone for classic blues singer Sara Martin (1884-1955), also from Louisville, who was buried at an unmarked site nearby in the cemetery.

With about $1,300 left over from the fund raising campaign for Martin’s marker, which brought in contributions from around the country, the group had the Weaver headstone made. Both were done by Bays Brothers Laser Engraving service in New Albany, Ind., which will have the monument ready for installation before Saturday.

“He deserves something just as nice,” Clements said, adding that both markers tie in the with society’s mission to “preserve, promote and perpetuate the blues.” The front shows an image of Weaver from a painting by local blues musician and artist Jim Masterson, who worked from an old photographer of Martin and Weaver together.

Another local group that has promoted the headstone effort is the Soulful Sounds of Derbytown Entertainment Committee, which is working to have Martin inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. The group, including Ron Lewis of the Shively area, successfully campaigned to have Louisville native and rhythm & blues singer Harvey Fuqua and his group The Moonglows inducted this year at a ceremony April 10 in Lexington.

Saturday’s dedication event at Louisville Cemetery will include performances of some of Weaver’s numbers by Mark “Big Poppa” Stampley, a local traditional blues player. Michael L. Jones, local author of “Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee,” also is expected to be there, along with Smoketown Pride and Heritage movement coordinator Ruby Hyde and historian Pen Bogert. Bogert, a past Blues Society member who now lives in Bardstown, performed at the original headstone dedication in 1992.

The back of Weaver’s headstone has biographical information, and Weaver also is mentioned on a state highway historical marker at the entrance to Louisville Cemetery. “He had a very nice finger-picking style” and also played slide guitar, Clements said.

Aside from the fact that both Weaver and Martin are buried in Louisville Cemetery, they also had another connection in life. Weaver had accompanied Martin on “Longing For Daddy Blues” in 1923, recorded for Okeh Records in New York, in what was thought to be the first recorded blues vocal backed only by guitar.

Weaver also also was known for instrumental recordings “Guitar Blues” and Guitar Rag,” which were among more than than 50 titles he recorded through 1927, also in Atlanta and St. Louis.

Weaver’s later life was spent as a chauffeur and butler for the family that owned the Lemon & Son jewelry business, his new headstone says. His interest in music is thought perhaps to have waned after the death of his wife, Anna,who had been a cook for family member Gertrude Lemon.

Weaver occasionally played guitar to entertain the children, and, “He was fondly remembered by his friends as easy-going and dignified,” the headstone says.

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/south/2015/07/20/new-headstone-pioneering-blues-guitarist-sylvester-weaver-louisville/30421923/

New headstone to honor early blues guitarist 2017-04-02T01:09:50+00:00