The Juggernaut Jug Band from Louisville, Kentucky, performs “San Francisco Bay Blues” and “Coney Island Washboard,” showcasing the eclectic mix of influences and instruments that make up “jug band music.”
Jug band music was very popular between the 1890s and the 1930s. It originated in Louisville, Kentucky, when African-American musicians began making music using found or homemade instruments such as empty jugs, washboards, and kazoos. By 1915, Louisville jug bands were traveling to Chicago, New York, and other cities to perform. Memphis, Tennessee, was also a center for jug band music.
Jug band music blends jazz, blues, ragtime, and swing. It grew out of the minstrel and early ragtime traditions combined with a touch of jazz that was developing at the time in New Orleans and Chicago.
Interest in jug band music revived in the 1960s. Across America there are jug band societies and festivals. Juggernaut Jug Band, the Louisville, Kentucky-based group featured in this segment, has been performing since the 1960s. Learn more about the group and jug band history at the band’s website.