Since I’ve been involved with the homemade musical instrument community, I’ve noticed more and more coincidences in my life. I’m not sure if they’re happening more often or if I’m just more attune to them, but I’ve noticed increased synchronicity over the past year or so. Here’s another fun coincidence that happened recently. I wanted to share it with the Cigar Box Nation.

About a month ago, a book about jug bands showed up in my Amazon feed. I’ve always thought jug bands were interesting, but never really took the time to learn the history of this music style. I decided to buy the book and it arrived a couple days later. I set it on my bookshelf not sure when I’d get around to reading it. As luck would have it, I had plans to visit a buddy in Phoenix the first weekend in September. I brought the book, Louisville Jug Music: From Earl McDonald to the National Jubilee by Michael L Jones, along to help pass the time.

I finished the book that weekend and it was a really good read. I did not realize how much jug music influenced other American musical styles or where it came from. Not only did I learn a lot about the past, present, and future of the genre, I also discovered there is a National Jug Band Jubilee which takes place in Louisville, KY every year. Coincidentally, the event was happening the following Saturday, September 14. I told my wife about this string of coincidences and she said, “It’s a sign. You need to go.” I made some quick travel arrangements and before I knew it, I was on my way to Louisville. I arrived at the Jubilee shortly after the first band took the stage on Saturday.

L to R: washboard, cigar box ukulele, dobro, bass, jug

The first thing I did was visit the merchandise table to see what kind of swag they had for sale. After purchasing a T-shirt and a bumper sticker, I noticed Michael L Jones - the author of the book I mentioned above - was sitting at a nearby table eating lunch. I walked over and told him about the series of coincidences that brought me to Kentucky. He grinned ear to ear, signed my book (which I just happened to bring with me), and welcomed me to the festival. I sat down in the grass and watched a handful of artists deliver some lively performances. The musicians played instruments like banjos, kazoos, washtub basses, washboards, guitars, and, of course, jugs. I even spotted a cigar box ukulele on stage.

At 4:00 PM the music paused and there were free jug band instrument classes. Led by known performers, these sessions focused on the basics of playing the jug, bones, kazoo, and washboard. They all appealed to me, so I had a hard time deciding which one to attend. I ended up at the jug playing workshop led by Arlo Leach. After one class and a little bit of practice, I’d say I’m still a novice jug player at best. Regardless, it was a lot of fun and I learned something new. At the conclusion of the classes, all the students took the stage and performed a song for the audience. I thought about how many coincidences led to this moment. Just one week ago I knew virtually nothing about jug music, and yet here I was playing a plastic milk jug on stage at the National Jug Band Jubilee. It was quite an experience to say the least.

That's me playing the jug (circled in red)

As the sun dropped towards the horizon, I watched the rest of the performances and found myself consistently entertained. The musical acts were great and so were the festivalgoers. The crowd was a mixture of folks from all age groups and walks of life, but everyone was in a good mood. It was an uplifting day and one I won’t soon forget. After returning home, I found myself digging through the recycle bin looking for empty milk jugs or water bottles I could blow into. I spent the latter part of yesterday checking my local antique shops for vintage whiskey jugs. I chuckled a bit when I realized I’m probably the first guy to come back from Kentucky and look for empty whiskey containers. I’m sure that doesn’t happen every day.

See the full album of Jug Band Jubilee pics here: https://cigarboxnation.com/photo/albums/national-jug-band-jubilee-9...

Views: 174

Comment

You need to be a member of Cigar Box Nation to add comments!

Join Cigar Box Nation

Comment by Kigar on September 23, 2019 at 8:44pm

Very cool story, funny how some of life's curves turn into a nice twisty road. Also remember some of the best jugs come in pairs!

Comment by KOOL DOG HOOCH on September 22, 2019 at 10:02am

Thanks for sharing, very interesting story. Here's something you may want to see.Bottle Boys

Comment by the anonymous pick on September 18, 2019 at 4:05pm

You opened Pandora's cigar box ;-)

The Essential Pages

New to Cigar Box Nation? How to Play Cigar Box GuitarsFree Plans & How to Build Cigar Box GuitarsCigar Box Guitar Building BasicsCigar Box Guitar Parts Store

Site Sponsor

Recommended Links & Resources


Forum

Box thickness effect on sound

Started by Infirmity Citrus President in Building Secrets, Tips, Advice, Discussion. Last reply by Taffy Evans on Sunday. 1 Reply

The Cigar Box SITAR Experiment - by Shane Speal

Started by Cigar Box Nation in Feature Articles. Last reply by t-belly johnson Jun 16. 2 Replies

Build a Les Claypool Whamola!

Started by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker in Feature Articles. Last reply by Cindy J Jun 14. 11 Replies

How to Build a Mailbox Dobro

Started by Cigar Box Nation in Feature Articles. Last reply by Cindy J Jun 13. 3 Replies

Latest Activity

Uncle John commented on Doug Thorsvik's video
Thumbnail

Masterful Creator: 3-String Surf SLG Cigar Box Guitar

"Wow, Slingers.  Doug and his pastor wrote a very good praise song that has elements of an old…"
44 minutes ago
Uncle John commented on Downtown Vinnie's video
Thumbnail

Strength

"Vinnie, it is really good to see and hear your loopy self here. A pleasure.  And you are…"
46 minutes ago
Keith Rearick liked Doug Thorsvik's video
1 hour ago
Keith Rearick liked Downtown Vinnie's video
2 hours ago
Keith Rearick liked 3 String Blues's video
2 hours ago
Keith Rearick liked A.D.EKER's video
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Maree
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Billy Pigg
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Lisa Frandsen
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
2 hours ago
BrianQ. left a comment for Richard Kenyon
"Welcome, check out the Resources tab for build/play info and join some groups located in the Posts…"
2 hours ago
Profile IconRichard Kenyon, Lisa Frandsen, Maree and 1 more joined Cigar Box Nation
3 hours ago
Doug Thorsvik posted a video

Masterful Creator: 3-String Surf SLG Cigar Box Guitar

Cigar Box Guitar Slingers - Spokane, 110th Zoom Mtg June 20, 2022. More info and free songbooks: https://sites.google.com/site/cigarboxguitarslingersspokane/...
3 hours ago

Music

© 2022   Created by Ben "C. B. Gitty" Baker.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service

\uastyle>\ud/** Scrollup **/\ud.scrollup {\ud background: url("https://storage.ning.com/topology/rest/1.0/file/get/963882636?profile=original") no-repeat scroll 0 0 transparent;\ud bottom: 25px;\ud display: inline !important;\ud height: 40px;\ud opacity: 0.3 !important;\ud position: fixed;\ud right: 30px;\ud text-indent: -9999px;\ud width: 40px;\ud z-index: 999;\ud}\ud.scrollup:hover {\ud opacity:0.99!important;\ud}\ud \uascript type="text/javascript">\ud x$(document).ready(function(){\ud x$(window).scroll(function(){\ud if (x$(this).scrollTop() > 100) {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeIn();\ud } else {\ud x$('.scrollup').fadeOut();\ud }\ud });\ud x$('.scrollup').click(function(){\ud x$("html, body").animate({ scrollTop: 0 }, 600);\ud return false;\ud });\ud });\ud \ua!-- End Scroll Up -->