THE TENNESSEE MAFIA JUG BAND, “Lester’s Lofain’ Lounge,” no label. 15 tracks

It’s been almost a dozen years since The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band released “Barnyard Frolic,” an album that garnered a lot of attention from people who like their music a tad on the raw side.

“Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge,” the band’s fifth album, is dedicated to the memory of the Jug Band’s founder, “Lonesome” Lester Armistead, who died of cancer last year at age 71.

His Loafin’ Lounge is a former general store in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, where country and bluegrass legends and just regular folks have been jamming for decades.

Be advised though that there are no jugs listed among the instruments on the album.

There’s knee slapping, maracas, a washboard, eefin’, a ukulele, drums, piano, steel guitar, guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and bass.

But no jugs.

Band members are Mike Armistead, Leroy Troy, Dan Kelly, Mike Webb and Ernie Sykes.

Webb wrote three songs for the album — the title track, “Hillbilly Logic” and “Wood and Strings,” a song about a guitar.

Most of the material dates back to the heyday of traditional country music — “I’m My Own Grandpa” was a 1947 hit by Lonzo & Oscar; “Bridge Washed Out” was a 1965 hit by Warner Mack; “Count Me Out” was a 1966 hit by Marty Robbins; and “Mansion On A Hill” was a 1948 hit by Hank Williams.

“Grey Eagle” and “Trombone Rag” are traditional numbers.

Until the 1950s, country, folk, western, bluegrass and any number subgenres of the music were all lumped under the “hillbilly” label.

But people like Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and Ernest Tubb considered the label demeaning and fought for more politically correct names for their sounds.

Today, though, a new generation is returning to its roots with pride in the word “hillbilly.”

And that’s what this is — roots music with no borders.

It’s a little bit of everything.

And it’s good.

You can tell these guys are having fun.

Can’t find it in stores?


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