Washboard Slim and the Bluelights
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Washboard Slim and the Bluelights

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1987 | SELF

Hamden, Connecticut, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1987
Band Americana Blues

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This is BY FAR the best record I've ever heard you make. The vocals are fantastic and authentic and the songs are interesting and pulsing and the playing is excellent. There are about 5 or 6 songs I'm absolutely CRAZY about!
Cynthia Lyon, Band Leader, Eight To The Bar -


Washboard slim and the blue lights latest recording is a delightful romp through woods.
Peter Menta and his talented band of troubadours have artfully crafted a CD that's got something for everyone on two sides.
It's a well recorded collection of Jugband standards, American roots and pop music. Quite fun to listen to!
Almost as good as having them in your living room. Buy the recording, you don't have to feed or clean up after them.
Dave Schwartz-WPKN Radio-Host: Big Railroad Train
http://www.wpkn.org/Hosts/david-schwartz - Dave Schwartz- WPKN Radio


“I really enjoyed them and you played them well.” - Jim Kweskin -


“You get it all with Washboard Slim and the Bluelights - folk, jazz, country, cajun, spirituals - all delivered in a magical, musical stew. A New England treasure and the ultimate live band experience. One of the best in its genre.” Fernando Pinto-Concert Promoter-Fernndo Pinto Presents - Fernando Pinto- Concert Promoter


What Folks Are Saying:

"While listening to the happy & delightful Jug Band sounds of the Bluelights, you are immediately taken back to another time and
place keeping your toes tapping and your hands clapping for more, more, more. A great American art form is being kept alive. Their recorded work, including their new CD “Rub That Rhythm” is incredible,
both classics and original songs. I had a great time seeing and hearing their jug band sounds for the very first time and it was long overdue. People just don't know what they are missing, especially the vocals of Cynthia Fabian,
a vivacious performer and all the other members of this talented band. What a way to spend a Saturday night. It just doesn't get any better anywhere, anyplace
with The Bluelights."
Bill Nolan,WPKN/WPKM FM
(CT’s longest running FM blues radio show)
Director R and B society, Inc.


“ The best show that I saw at the 1998 Great Connecticut Traditional Jazz Festival was the set by Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights. Like everyone else in the packed house, I stayed riveted to my seats. This versatile quintet has the good-natured
old time jug band style right down to the gnats eyeball!” Tex Wyndham, author of Texas Shout and leader of the “Rent Party Reveler’s Jazz Band."

“Absolutely the best group since Kweskin's jug band in the sixties. Traditional music in overdrive” - Eric von Schmidt, legendary recording artist, author, ASCAP life achievement award winner

“'A talented, polished group. Lots of good new songs, strong tight harmonies, and a good dose of creativity to give it all their own stamp. Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights will be coming back to The Sounding Board again and again.” -Len Domler,
The Sounding Board Coffeehouse

“Fun, toe-tapping music with a good sense of humor... received a great reception at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference” - Sonny Ochs, Showcase Committee, Northeast Regional Folk Alliance & Falcon Ridge Folk Festival

“Highly musical and extraordinarily entertaining. A big hit at the Westport Blues Festival.” -Mark Naftalin, Producer, Westport Blues Festival

“This is a wonderful band that have been keeping jug band music alive almost by themselves in New England. It's great they're finally getting the recognition they deserve.'” -Fritz Richmond, wash tub /jug player (Jim Kweskin Jug Band, John Sebastian J Band, the Barbecue Orchestra)

"Don't let the name throw you... this is creative, intelligent, first-rate acoustic music performed by some very talented folks on some rather unusual instruments. The result, a thoroughly entertaining show!! One 20 minute showcase converted me instantly
and I can't wait to experience an entire performance." - Linda Bolton, Management, Northern Lights Bluegrass Band

"This is music meant to be performed. At times Menta roves amid the audience with his washboard, Horn trades one-liners with Menchaca, performers trade jugs for kazoos for mandolins for banjos, kids or old-timers (depending on the gig) get up to
dance, and the playing style remains loose... and free” The New Haven Advocate

“When... (Menta)... rips onto the stage and into his music he's as much a delight to the eye as to the ear. Such classic tunes as Papa's on the Housetop,' 'The Washboard Wiggles,' and 'Diggin'My Potatoes' leap out of the annals of American traditional
music and grab a whole new generation of jug band converts.”- The New Haven Independent

'Their sound belongs to yesterday, to today, and if there is any justice, to tomorrow. Go see them - you'll have a ball!' Susan
Susan Forbes Hansen, Folk Radio Host, WHUS

- VARIOUS SOURCES


“If ears were mouths, they’d devour this combination platter with relish and eagerly seek seconds. It’s a Happy Meal!
I’m talking about the Bluelights’ CD album “Rub That Rhythm.” It offers a menu of a dozen tasty morsels ranging from the aged country ham of such historic jug band favorites as “Casey Bill” and “Boodleam Shake” to juicy contemporary tunes braised in savvy jug band style, including several original recipes created by the band and close friends.
For dessert, there’s “Rub That Rhythm”--the flavor-filled odyssey of Washboard Slim. My compliments to the chefs. The spice of their vocal harmony, the varied flavors of their individual solos, their skill with musical utensils and their strategic blending of such acoustic condiments as slide whistles, kazoos and cowbells invite ears to savor this delightful audio feast—again and again.”

Rod Wenz, President
National Jug Band Jubilee
Louisville, Kentucky - (http://www.jugbandjubilee.org) - Jug Band Jubilee


“While listening to the happy & delightful Jug Band sounds of the Bluelights, you are
immediately taken back to another time and place keeping your toes tapping and your hands clapping for more, more, more. A great American art form is being kept alive. Their recorded work, including their new CD “Rub That Rhythm” is incredible, both classics and original songs. I had a great time seeing and hearing their jug band sounds for the very first time and it was long overdue. People just don't know what they are missing. What a way to spend a Saturday night. It just doesn't get any better anywhere, anyplace with the Bluelights.”



Bill Nolan,WPKN/WPKM FM
(CT’s longest running FM blues radio show)
Director R and B society, Inc. - WPKN-FM


Arts Washboard Slim by David Katz

Blues is a paradoxical form. It is a sadness that brings great joy. There are many forms of the blues, including “dirty blues”, where the song lyrics, innocent if taken literally, describe or are an invitation to sexual activity; an up-tempo kind of blues, where the blues scale is used in a jumping, cheerful song; and lowdown blues, where misery and music fuse. Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights, practitioners of jug band blues, can handle all of these blues styles expertly. Their CD, “Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights, a Jug Band for the 21st Century”, demonstrates this.

A jug band mixes regular instruments with three that are its signature: the kazoo, the washboard and the washtub bass. These almost beg you not to take this music seriously, but that would be a mistake. Just as Haydn was able to orchestrate a symphony using a hefty admixture of toy instruments (his “Toy Symphony”, used, ironically, as a ring tone sound for many cell phones today), the jug band uses these three folk instruments to make great jazz and blues.

The band consists of Washboard Slim (Peter Menta) on washboard, percussion, harmonica, kazoo and vocals; Brooks Barnett on accordian, banjo, mandolin, drums, sitar and vocals; Howard Horn on washtub bass, jug, banjo and vocals; Matt Kastner on guitar and vocals; and Miss Dee (Dierdre Menchaca) on vocals and “tastefull kazoo”. Two bonus tracks on the CD feature Cynthia Fabian on vocals and Tom Hagymasi on Mandolin and fiddle. Ms. Fabian has a terrific blues voice, and, at a recent Washboard Slim concert, a really cute wiggle. She is a permanent member of the group, replacing Miss Dee.

Several of the tunes on the CD were composed by members of the band (Raggin' the Blues Away, Two Kazoo Polka, Firehouse Blues, and No More Bada Boom Bada Bing). The rest are traditional blues, or composed by others. The best of these are three “dirty blues” numbers, You Gotta Know How, I let My Daddy Do That, and You Gotta See Your Mama.

Based in Connecticut, the group tours and appears at folk and jazz festivals, and has an upcoming concert in Bethany, CT, on November 20th. A new CD is in preparation. They are fun to listen to.

Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights have a website at www.washboardslim.com , where you can hear tracks from the CD. They are not set up for on-line ordering, but mail order information is given on the website.
- NY Stringer Magazine


Review Of Bluelights CD "Rub That Rhythm," Summer 2007, Sing Out! Magazine


Jug band music was first heard on the sidewalks of Louisville and Memphis in the late 1920s. Performed by African Americans on both conventional instruments such as banjo, guitar and mandolin as well as on homemade contrivances like jug, washboard, gutbucket bass and kazoo, its resulting stylistic range led to a widespread popularity among the "race" record buyers of the time. Aggregations such as the Memphis Jug Band and Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers played everything from early country and jazz and pop favorites to minstrel songs and ragtime. It all ended with the Depression of the 1930s only to see a revival in the early 1960s by white bands helmed by the likes of Jim Kweskin, Dave Van Ronk and Jerry Garcia.

The Peter "Washboard Slim" Menta-led Bluelights, founded twenty years ago, exuberantly carries the tradition forward on this 13 track mix of covers and originals while adding intriguing elements of gospel, polka, rock 'n' roll, jump blues and rockabilly to the mix. The remaining, in-the-groove Bluelights, all multi-instrumentalists like Menta, are Howard Horn, Mat Kastner (great National steel guitar), Brooks Barnett and Cynthia Fabian - who takes some fine lead vocals on rompers like the bawdy "I Want To Be Bad" and the Klezmer-tinged "Down And Out".

Other "don't misses" are an accordion-colored cover of Slim Gaillard's 1950-era topical bid "Atomic Cocktail", a delightful send-up of Todd Rundgren's "Bang On A Drum All Day" and animated takes on both the gospel chestnut "Packing Up" and the jug band staple "Boodleam Shake". A pair of originals by sometimes band member Mark Crofutt (the autobiographical title song and the novelty "Bigfoot") and a swinging version of the Hawaiian classic "When Old Bill Bailey Plays The Ukulele" also deliver the goods. Recommended. - GvonT
- SING OUT!


“While listening to the happy & delightful Jug Band sounds of the Bluelights, you are
immediately taken back to another time and place keeping your toes tapping and your hands clapping for more, more, more. A great American art form is being kept alive. Their recorded work, including their new CD “Rub That Rhythm” is incredible, both classics and original songs. I had a great time seeing and hearing their jug band sounds for the very first time and it was long overdue. People just don't know what they are missing especially the vocals of Cynthia Fabian, a vivacious performer and all the other members of this talented band. What a way to spend a Saturday night. It just doesn't get any better anywhere, anyplace with the Bluelights.”



Bill Nolan,WPKN/WPKM FM
(CT’s longest running FM blues radio show)
Director R and B society, Inc.
- WPKN-FM


"You guys can play anything you want!" - Tommy Ramone -


Discography

Back To The Well, October 2015

"Rub That Rhythm" (October 2006).

"Washboard Slim and the Bluelights" (Out of print)

“You Can’t Be Serious”
A two disc compilation of five Jug Bands playing live from National Jug Band Jubilee, Louisville Kentucky, October, 2006.

Photos

Bio

Washboard Slim and the Bluelights have been performing their blues, jugband, early jazz, gospel and rockabilly mix throughout the United States for over twenty five years. In recent years they have introduced an Appallachian and Cajun twist to their eclectic Americana mix. 

Legendary rock musician/ producer Tommy Ramone (Ramones, Uncle Monk) perhaps has said it best: "You guys can play anything you want!" Bob Weir (Grateful Dead) put it very simply: "For me jug band music is the mud my toes are planted in. Honor it!" They are the first band of its kind to appear at the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis, winning the 2008 CT Blues Challenge. Legendary folk/blues artist Eric Von Schmidt has called us: “Absolutely the best since Kweskin's Jug Band in the sixties. Traditional music in overdrive.” Our latest recording "Back To The Well “ is receiving positive reactions from diverse sources as American Roots Music Magazine to world music radio programmers.

Roots of Bluegrass Show

WSBL have put together an exciting show featuring the old time string band music that influenced the development of modern bluegrass. These include fiddle tunes, blues and string band jazz and swing. This is the music that the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe, listened to as he forged a more improvised and aggressive sound that had never existed before in country music. The earliest bands that Monroe recorded with used accordion and jug and also featured a bluesy swing style rhythm. WSBL have the instruments and approach to deliver this unique sound that made Bill Monroe a recording star even before his style was fixed into what we call the modern bluegrass style. WSBL give bluegrass fans a glimpse into this compelling roots music that was popular at the dawn of a musical revolution that created bluegrass, Western Swing and early rock ’n’ roll. We are also proud to announce that bluegrass musician, singer and songwriter Phil Rosenthal, formerly with the legendary Seldom Scene, has signed on as a special guest for these shows.

Founding members Howard Horn and Peter Menta started as the Ten Years Late Jug Band in 1976. Our basic line up has been in place since 1986. Our newest member: Lauren Agnelli (who has recorded with the infamous Brave Combo and  Greenwich Village notables the Washington Squares) joined in 2015.  Along the way we have shared stages and festivals with Count Basie, Muddy Waters, Taj Mahal, The Beach Boys, The Band, Peter Yarrow and Bill Monroe to name a few. From the cutting edge blues - rock club Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT - to the legendary Philadelphia and Winnipeg Folk Festivals with a stop at the “World’s Largest Street Festival” in Decatur Illinois, we have played for all kinds and all ages of music lovers. With the return of fiddle and mandolin player Johnny Pendergast, we have have now returned to some of the old time mountain, bluegrass and quartet gospel music we have always loved adding Cajun and Zydeco along the way. No matter what the influence are, the bluesy jug band roots are always there in our music. Bob Weir (Grateful Dead) put it very simply: "For me jug band music is the mud my toes are planted in. Honor it!"

Band Members