Washboard Slim and the Bluelights

Washboard Slim and the Bluelights

 Hamden, Connecticut, USA

Thirty years at it and kickin', W.S.B.L. continues to release new music and expand their
audience. They can navigate effortlessly from raucous Saturday night blues to Sunday morning mountain gospel with a few surprises along the way.


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!"


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.

Set List

The Bluelights can perform four - one hour long sets of dance and concert material including original music.
The Bluellights also present their own interpretations of the songs of blues artists such as Washboard Sam, Elmore James, Bessie Smith, Big Maybelle, Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell, Willie Dixon, Tampa Red and Georgia Tom and Memphis Minnie. Early jazz artists included are Billie Holliday, Ida Cox, Fats Waller, Charlie Christian, Louis Armstrong, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Bing Crosby, Ira Gershwin, Helen Kane and Annette Henshaw. Gospel artists include Bill Monroe, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Blind Willie Johnson. Rock’n’ roll is represented by Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Laverne Baker and Johnny Burnett. Traditional Jug Band artists include the Memphis Jug Band, Cannon's Jug Stompers, Whistler and his Jug Band and the Dixieland Jug Blowers.