Christmas Jug Band

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About Christmas Jug Band

The Christmas Jug Band played a truly unique blend of alternative country, traditional American music, and holiday songs that made its splash in the late '80s/early '90s. The group's roots were much older than that, as the band merged two jug band concepts that had developed in California. In the mid-'70s, the Ohio-based Monday Night Wild Turkey Jug Band trio performed massive jug band jams with local musicians throughout a ten-week stay in California. Cover songs were forbidden, and many homemade instruments were used in order to stay away from a slick-sounding approach. Meanwhile, participant Dan Hicks had a recording session to take part in and asked several of the other regular jammers to cover for him at a regular gig in late December. The group members billed themselves as the Three Wise Men + 4 - 1 Jug Band, and laid down a holiday-only set that won them a spot on Christmas Eve. The band quickly crafted some originals to go with the covers of seasonal tunes, and the reception was so great that the group made it an annual holiday tradition. Several of the members wanted to move after spending years in the area, so they decided to record their efforts in order to have a document of their Christmas shows. They recorded a studio album that was only meant for themselves to enjoy, but bootlegs leaked out and soon the record was in demand, so they set up Globe Records to release Mistletoe Jam in 1987. The record was a big success, and the bandmembers decided to come together for annual holiday shows despite living in different areas. The band released a live CD in 1991, Tree-Side Hoot, and followed it with Rhythm on the Roof in 1997. Although mostly retired at this point, they would emerge again in 2002 for the reunion record Uncorked. On the Holiday Highway arrived in 2009. ~ Bradley Torreano

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