Mac’s Uptowner to host band’s 300th performance

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

Bones Jugs N Harmony, jug band returns to Mac’s Uptowner Friday to perform its 300th show since the start of the band in 2013.

The band originated in Urbana, Ill.  and used University of Illinois campus’s south quad as their concert hall.

The band considers the Uptowner as a second home with its atmosphere of engaging college students and looks forward to its fourth performance.

“We’re always going to see friends, always good sound, familiar with the college town scene,” Charlie Harris, bass player said. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it we had some good times there.”

The Jug band consists of four members using a wide range of instruments however; the main instruments are jugs, xylophones, bass and guitar.

The actual jug is a dynamic instrument with the option of being used as wind instrument by blowing over the top, whistling into it or turned into a percussion tool by beating on the sides Harris said.

In the early 1900s jug bands reached their highest popularity coining the term ‘America’s happiest music’ with its use of playful instruments and lyrics.

Similar to country and blues the band’s song content can have sad lyrics, but the tone and rhythm brings light-heartedness to the sound.

‘Sunday Morning Blues’ performed by the band discusses the pain of a terrible hangover but the way the musicians tell the tale turned a tough situation into a laughable experience Harris said.

The history of jug band music is filled with laughter and joy so the band’s goal for each performance is to bring that life to the audience.

“It is a good time creating and playing and for us that’s what it is all about,” Harris said.

Compared to orchestra’s jug bands were typically a small group of musicians, but produced the same if not more energetic and captivating music as a full orchestra Harris said.

Bones Jugs N Harmony takes pride in sharing this history especially while playing ‘Way Down the Old Plank Road’ by Uncle Macon combining a bango and a little experimentation to bring the song to life, Harris said.

Its bluegrass -infused 1920s xylophone centered music describes its sound.

Initially Bones Jugs N Harmony performed only cover songs, however the members started producing its own original music.

When the band first began the members just considered playing together as just as a hobby, but once the members grown comfortable with each other the band became a full-time career.

“It was just a fun thing to do and it kinda just snowballed,” Harris said. “We all had connections with friends in different cities so we started playing until we picked up steam.”

The audience should expect to hear about 15 original songs.

Bones Jugs N Harmony enjoys performing songs we have written because we are doing something fresh and exciting Harris said.


Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].