Pre- WWII old time Blues The Steel City Jug Slammers
In the tradition of the Memphis Jug Bands in the late 20s and early 30s these guys bring us music about life, women, and booze performed most of the time on a washtub bass, jug, banjo, guitar and kazoo. The Steel City Jug Slammers are a modern jug band performing pre- WWII old time blues since 2012.
Sounds of the 78 RPM era back to life
On their website you’ll read that: “The band was started by Nicholas “Ramblin’ Ricky Tate” Bate with Jerrod Atkins & friends in 2012. The band consists of Ramblin’ Ricky Tate, Washtub Jay, & Maxwell Honeycup. Since forming the band has become known for their jug band antics. Performing a catalog of classics and originals, the Steel City Jug Slammers brings the sounds of the 78 RPM era to life.”
They loved the blues, but hated its popular, generic practitioners. It was the motivating factor for the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir.
Pure Blues Roots as we all like it
The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir brings some of the purest roots music around. Sometimes you have the luck to find one of these bands in your lokal Juke Joint or maybe out in the street and you get blown away. It is the connection of instruments and the groove of a song that sounds like a jam. That’s what happens with the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir.
I once had the honor to meet the Hackensaw Boys, who are comparable to the Canadian musicians of the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, but bring their songs a bit more bluegrass style. The AMGC bring the roots like the jug bands earlier did in Memphis . The video below gives a nice impression how that sounds.
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir – Oh Sorrow
Pre WW II Blues and County
The AMGC’s raucous, firebrand interpretations of pre-WW II acoustic blues and country struck a chord with Calgarian audiences, they write on their own website. The roots crowd liked them for their reverence for the musical sources minus the obvious cliches of many modern interpreters. But rock audiences ate up their sets, too.
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir Inspiration
The Agnostics managed to translate and amplify the energy of early Skip James and Son House, transcending the lo-fidelity of a scratchy 78, and reminding young listeners why this music mutated into rock’n’roll.
The Agnostics were compared to Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart which was a blessing and a curse. The band, while admittedly fans, knew those guys got their influences from the same places; namely the Howlin’ Wolf/Charlie Patton lineage. But they were a couple of white guys who shaped the blues in their own unique fashion, hence they were inevitable inspirations.
Dumb It Down and Oh Sorrow
Songs like ‘Dumb It Down’, show the inspiration of Son House and Lightning Hopkins. A song like ‘Saint Hubert’ has a whole lot of more Jug Band feeling, maybe because of the low vocals, and the bombastic sounds. ‘ Oh Sorrow’ brings the country blues feeling through the boxes, this song is perfect during a session of drinking beer. The Banjo is slow, the vocals howl, the beat brings you back to the cotton fields of Mississippi.
Since 2013, the group reunites after receiving several offers to play in Europe. The tour is successful. At the same time there is a rising interest in their CDs from all parts of the globe. Are there plans for future activites? Stay tuned.
Pure music of Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks
Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks is a band that plays blues, ragtime, jazz or bluegrass in the style of the jug bands of the early twentieth century. These Guys started in the summer of 2009 as a three piece band with Dwight Hawkins, Nicholas Marshall and Antone Costa primarily featuring the wood saw, mandolin and guitar respectively.
The love for old blues, jazz and ragtime brought these guys together, their love for music would soon be turned into performing together. A show of these guys, wherever it is in your local pub or on the streets is full of good energy swinging rhythm and please focus on the wood saw which adds a pervasive melody.
After a half a year of heavy busking, the band gained momentum and began to play inside venues as well as on the sidewalk. Since then, Alex Brady has come into the ranks on the gut bucket bass, though other members have come in and out of the band as time and circumstances permitted.