PARAGOULD — The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band will perform Oct. 22 at the Collins Theater as part of KASU 91.9 FM’s Bluegrass Monday concert series.
Performing together since 1997, the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band unashamedly presents “a blast from the past,” a style of music and comedy that recalls old-time country musicians and TV programs like “Hee Haw.” The talented musicians in the band wear costumes, incorporate props into their shows, tell corny jokes and present slapstick, family-friendly comedy in a stage show inspired by a comic-relief feature from the Roy Acuff show called “Pap and the Jug Band.”
Musically, the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band influences include Stringbean, Grandpa Jones, Roy Acuff and Uncle Dave Macon. The band has appeared numerous times on the Grand Ole Opry and on the Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV. The group also has produced five CDs.
Leroy Troy sings and plays banjo as well as a variety of unique accessories including washboard, duck call and bicycle bell. Roy Acuff and Cordell Kemp mentored Troy in old-time country music and entertaining. Troy appeared as the character “Billy Bob,” a regular on Hee Haw for two years. He also appears each week on the Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV. He owns numerous awards and commendations for his efforts in preserving old-time country music.
Dan Kelly plays fiddle for the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Kelly has won numerous fiddle contests, including the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in Nashville, Tennessee. He has played fiddle in the bands of Roy Acuff, Pam Tillis, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill and Clint Black.
Ernie Sykes is a featured performer in the group. He previously played bass in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys as well as in the Lonesome River Band and the Bluegrass Cardinals.
Mike Armistead sings and plays guitar in the group. Troy and Armistead were featured on Country Music Television’s “Outsiders Inn,” a comedy series. Armistead serves as the band’s booking agent, and he also serves the city of Nashville, Tennessee, as a member of the fire department.
Mike Webb plays Dobro resophonic guitar in the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. Webb learned his skill from long-time Roy Acuff collaborator Bashful Brother Oswald. Oswald’s widow gave Webb her husband’s Dobro and banjo, both of which Webb continues to play when he is on stage. Webb has also appeared regularly on RFD-TV’s “Cumberland Highlanders” program.
Mike Bub plays bass for the band. He first found prominence in bluegrass music as part of the group Weary Hearts. He then spent over a decade as the bassist for the Del McCoury Band. During his tenure with that band, the group was named Entertainer of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association nine times, and Bub was named the IBMA’s Bassist of the Year five times. He has also toured in the bands of Vince Gill, Tony Rice, Peter Rowan and Shawn Camp.
Collins Theatre seating is first-come, first-served at 120 W. Emerson St. in downtown Paragould. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. concert. KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the group with suggested donations of $5 per person.
In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café opens on Bluegrass Mondays to welcome bluegrass music fans. The café at 201 S. Pruett St. in Paragould serves a country-style buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts. Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre.
Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month. These concerts are presented with support from Bibb Chiropractic Center, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould, the Northeast Arkansas Bluegrass Association and KASU.
KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000 watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-972-2367. Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday”).