Guest artists for Folk Festival: the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, guest artists for this year's Alaska Folk Festival.

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band of Goodlettsville, Tenn., an old-time country band, will be the guest artists for this year’s Alaska Folk Festival.

The band includes “Lonesome” Lester Armistead (vocals, jug), Leroy Troy (vocals, banjo, scrubboard), Ernie Sykes (bass fiddle), Mike Armistead (vocals, guitar), Shadrach Cobb (fiddle) and Mike Webb (Dobro steel guitar).

Lester Armistead and his late brother, Jack, grew up around Roy Acuff‘s Smoky Mt. Boys — their father co-owned a bait store with Acuff’s fiddler, Howdy Forrester — and the TMJB is inspired by Acuff’s “Pap and the Jug Band.” That model carries through in the band’s humor and outfits as well as their music.

Among their previous gigs: entertainment for the pre-wedding party for Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, and a New Year’s show at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band’s CDs include “Barnyard Frolic,” “Poor Leroy’s Almanack” and “Screams From The Holler,” released last month. They also appear on the soundtrack to Faye Dunaway’s movie “Yellowbird.”

For more information on the band, vist www.tennesseemafiajugband.com.

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