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Cousin Clyde: It’s an opportunity to continue to learn more, and bounce ideas off people. It’s a very creative situation.
Bowtie: It creates community. I guess we’re not as cutthroat, step-on-everybody-on-the-way-up as—I used to be! (Laughs.)
DM: Often folks want attention and accolades, but don’t support others. Here, there seems to be encouragement and interaction. When someone sits in with you, they instantly become an honorary Jug Stomper.
Mr. Eck: That’s really part and parcel of what jug-band music always was, very inclusive, do-it-yourself. It was music anybody could play. There are all these examples of people saying, “If you get too good, it’s not really jug-band music.”
Wild Bill: It’s a jug band—by definition, it’s loose. Whoever joins in has got to become part of the band. The concept of bringing special guests up here at Tess’s is not so much to do a showcase, but to do a number or two and have us back them up, and then have them join in on a number or two of what we do. That’s the raison d’être of what we’re doing here.
Mr. Eck: And ideally, from the first note, the audience is part of the band.
Wild Bill: It’s like the audience is an equal part of this band.
Bowtie: That’s an interesting observation. I guess we envelop them.
Mr. Eck: It’s very inclusive. It’s meant to be fun, and none of the tunes we’re playing are rocket science.
DM: So what’s your favorite part?
Cousin Clyde: The groove. It’s a good groove. It’s not forced.
Wild Bill: The thing about playing with these guys [is], a lot of times I don’t think of it as a band as much as a social club. These are guys I love to hang out with.
Mr. Eck: I spent the majority of the past two decades performing, and now I’m entertaining. It took me awhile to come around to that. I’m really enjoying entertaining people, and doing it with these guys is a really good place to be. To have it be this much fun is just crazy.
Bowtie: We’re more about entertaining than making an artistic statement fraught with meaning.
Wild Bill: I disagree. I think laughter and joy is an important musical message.
All (impressed): WHOA!!
Mr. Eck: As I’ve become older, that’s what I most want out of music.
Wild Bill: The late Jackie Alper, of WRPI’s “Mostly Folk” show, once said she was thrilled that folk music was still viable in the 21st century, and that the act of singing an honest song was a political statement.
Bowtie: I want to play acoustic music now; this is the way I want to go out. Playing roots music. I want to become a legend, and so old that I have to play sitting down.