The Christmas Jug Band comes to Ashkenaz in its first tour since the death early this year of founding member Dan Hicks. In addition to fun and great music, the group will include a tribute to Hicks. What began in 1977 as a momentary lapse of sanity inspired by just the right amount of Wild Turkey has led to five albums and too many fruitcakes to count. The Christmas Jug Band is a loose affiliation of local folkies, hipsters, and hardcore rock and rollers who share a love for jug band versions of cherished Christmas classics and irreverent originals like “Mistletoe Jam” and “Santa Clara, San Jose or Santa Claus.”
For 39 years these purveyors of raucous revelry and lowdown hijinks have transformed staid Christmas standards into funky jug band jive, complete with all the bells and whistles, washboards and washtubs, wood blocks and kazoo. “Make no mistake,” writes Paul Liberatore of the San Jose Mercury News, “the Jug Band may be jokey, but its venerable members are some of the best musicians in the Bay Area and beyond.” This year the group features Paul Rogers (of Those Darn Accordions), Tim Eschliman (Etta James, Rhythmtown-Jive, Commander Cody), Gregory Leroy Dewey (Mad River, Country Joe, Marty Balin), Austin de Lone (Elvis Costello, Eggs Over Easy, Nick Lowe), Turtle Vandermarr (Dan Hicks, Freak Mountain Ramblers), Ken “Snakebite” Jacobs (Kinky Friedman, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Rhythmtown-Jive), and Blake Richardson (Bobby Hebb, Hot House).