The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band- Lester’s Loafin Lounge review   Leave a comment

loafinlounge_shirt-298x300The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band- Lester’s Loafin Lounge

Less calculated by a country mile is the latest from the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, the relaxed, good-time outfit featuring Mike Armistead, Leroy Troy, and their pals from in and around Goodlettsville, TN.

Neither bluegrass, old-time, country, or folk but rather all that an a washboard, the TMJB makes the normally fatal mistake of putting to tape (literally, as the album was recorded in the analog way) the worst song ever conceived [including the abomination that is “Polka on the Banjo”] “I’m My Own Grandpa.” This painful 150-seconds aside, Lester’s Loafin Lounge is a pure, throwback delight, a taste of yesteryear when music was less a business than it was an entertainment. So what if it is a bit corny, and—in places— more than a bit.

Nothing fancy, the five-piece TMJB—Armistead (guitar, vocals), son of the late band founder Lester, Troy (banjo, vocals, washboard, and uke), Dan Kelly (fiddle and mandolin), Mike Webb (guitar, Dobro, vocals), and Ernie Sykes (URB, vocals) run through a mess of classic country (“Count Me Out,” “You Don’t Have to Be Present to Win,” “Mansion on a Hill”) with little regard to innovation. If you’ve ever attended a country jam, you know what I mean, and that isn’t to sell the performances short. All is good when accepted for what it is.

More interesting for this listener are the matrimonially violent “Fryin’ Pan” and Webb’s originals “Wood and Strings” and “Hillbilly Logic.” These songs have substance, “Wood and Strings” especially, recalling times some of us don’t recall. They run through “The Bridge Washed Out” fair brilliantly, as well as “Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean.” Marty Stuart and Harry Stinson make contributions, as does Pig Robbins and producer Eric Heatherly. Not everything works—for me, a fine performance of “One Old Shirt (Way Downtown)” is ruined by wet raspberries accompanying the musicians.

As a souvenir of an event, and as a document of a moment in time for the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, Lester’s Loafin Lounge contains some fine music.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald


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