By Eric Koeppel:
The Sliced Bread Jug Band, a Chippewa Valley-based musical collective, will be playing a free show at the Raw Deal on Friday, Feb. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the band came together, but Bryce Black, lead jug player and songwriter, has this to say about the matter: “Think of circles of friends who know friends overlapping in different configurations for decades, scattered like fireflies from Lake Pepin to the Red Cedar River and the Chippewa Valley, all of them loving to make music together and live in the moment.”
“Jug band music dates back at least a century,” said Black. “It was invented by folks who lived lives of desperate poverty, but had a genius for expressing their joys and sorrows musically with whatever was at hand. Our band celebrates this tradition, featuring homemade instruments like washtub bass, washboards, kazoos, drums made out of old trunks or suitcases and, of course, the classic crockery jug.”
The band’s performances also involve the guitar, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica, accordion and piano. Each member takes turn as lead singer, and they currently have three female vocalists who add soulful harmonies.
“Our roster can vary quite a bit from one gig to another, depending on who is available,” Black said. “We’ve done some gigs with four or five members, but we’ll probably have eight or nine folks at the Raw Deal show.”
If that’s not enough to convince you to check out their show, the band recently took third place in the 32nd annual Minneapolis Battle of the Jug Bands, the longest running jug band gathering to date.
“It’s grown to be a two-day event, with about thirty bands competing in two different leagues,” said Black. “With various personnel, and in different incarnations, some of us have been competing in this event for about 10 years now.”
The Sliced Bread Jug Band is no stranger to Menomonie, and they’re excited to return.
“Jug band music is good time music: raw, funky and infectious,” Black added. “We have fun, and we invite you to come join in the fun.”
For more information on The Sliced Bread Jug Band, visit their Facebook page.