Wow!  All I can say is wow!  Well, I suppose I had better say a little more than that, now hadn’t I?  What a weekend the Smokin’ Fez Monkeys had in good ol’  Louisville, Kentucky.  The 6th annual Jug Band Jubilee, held again this year at Waterfront Park.  The weather was superb, the music was oh so tasty, and the camaraderie was sublime.  All these folks that are drawn to this event are some of the coolest, most friendliest folks you’d ever wanna know.  The music is so joyous (especially for a genre that got it’s start in the blues) and the atmosphere is infectious.  This was our second year to be invited to play and this time we were on later in the day’s proceedings;  late enough to be up under the stage lights.  All the groups before us had laid down some unforgettable toe-tappin, face-grinnin’, slap your knees good fun music.  And then it was our turn.  This year we invited  some guest artists to join us on stage: old friends “Jackelope John” Reynolds on mandolin, Mark Sweeney on washtub bass and Fred Glock on his newly fashioned plastic, electrified jug.  The set went down just fine, thank you.  The crowd was a-dancin’ and singin’ along, hootin’ and yes, even hollerin’!  Bullfrog crooned,  Petunia warbled and made that fiddle talk,  Clem stood in stable, calm solitude, and Gnarly (that’s me) jumped, laughed, tickled them geetar strings and beat anything in reach.  We brought it to ’em and they loved it.

But wait – there’s more.  In the audience sat legendary musician, jug band pioneer and headliner Jim Kweskin and he musta saw somethin’ he liked in us for he tapped us to join him and Geoff Muldaur on stage for their show-closing set.  Yes – us!  I know, right?  Can you believe it?  We met him down the boardwalk while the Roe Family singers played and had a quick rehearsal.  Then 6 songs in they called us up to join them and back them up.  What a crazy good time and my, what an honor!  Somebody pinch me!  OW! Hey, that’s just a figure o’ speech, ya know!  Anyway, what a dream!  What a fan-dam-tastic way to close out the festival!

A while later, back at the motel,  it was time for the other good part of this thing:  the big open jam.  Many members from many of the bands dropped by to jam on tunes, some that everybody knew and some that were more obscure but no less fun.  (say, Clem, how d’ya play this danged bass without gettin’ immediate blisters, eh?)  Jim and Geoff even dropped by and picked and grinned along with the rest of us.  ( say – pass me that fruit jar, would ya?) It was crazy good fun – wish you coulda been there.   We finally ran out of steam around 3:00 a.m., but the walls in that room are still ringing with all the great music that went down, I am sure.   Such good and talented folks and we Fez Monkeys are so glad to be counted among their ranks!  America’s happiest music indeed! Maybe see ya again next year, Louisville!