In the 1960s Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur led the groundbreaking Jug Band, admired and imitated by everyone from folk and blues musicians to rockers like the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Grateful Dead, but their new album isn’t a victory lap or nostalgia trip. Back then they were exciting because they had a gift for combining a loose, good-time feel with an astonishingly high standard of musicianship, making old songs feel quirky, hip, and new – and Penny’s Farm is exciting because they still have that magic. The songs reach back to the roots of American folk music, but the performances are sparked by the interplay of two artists deeply immersed in traditional styles, who know each other well, but have distinctly different styles and temperaments: Geoff is a meticulous arranger, while Jim prefers “to find a bunch of musicians I like, work up some tunes, and just let ’er rip.” Working live in the studio with a small group drawn from some of the finest musicians on the contemporary Americana scene, they’ve made a record that perfectly captures that mix of care and energy. It feels relaxed and fun, but with a lot of living behind it – new music from artists who’ve traveled a long way since the 1960s, and never lost touch with their passion.
Sweet Sheiks will be opening for Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur. Bringing a little bit of the Big Easy to the Brew City, Sweet Sheiks is a toe-tapping foursome inspired by the popular music of the teens, twenties, and thirties. Led by the soulful vocals of Jen Müttin-Schrank (guitar/saw/washboard), this violin (Ousia Lydian), resonator (Garrett Burton), tuba (Aaron Johnson) lineup brings a modern flair to early jazz, blues, and Americana classics. Sweet Sheiks’ acoustic stylings are compelling, diverting, and are best summed up in two words, “refreshingly vintage”.