Bloody Jug Band Save Halloween with New Album ‘Stranded’
You’re not limited in choices when it comes to finding country and roots artists to populate your Halloween playlist, whether its acts that are almost entirely dedicated to making dark music like Those Poor Bastards, Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks, The Slow Poisoner, and Sons of Perdition, or artists that just dabble on the dark side, from legends like Johnny Cash, to more contemporary artists such as Colter Wall and Hank Williams III (see a playlist).
But there’s nothing else quite like the Bloody Jug Band. Completely dedicated to making dark roots music, and to the jug band concept with washboard, harmonica, mandolin, and yes, a jug comprising the foundation of their sound, they’re the Gothic roots band that defies the niche and seasonal appeal of such an act with the way they take creepy music, and somehow make it so unbelievably infectious and appealing, you will be listening and grooving to it all year long.
Originating out of Orlando, this eight-piece band first caught the ears of informed country and roots fans in 2012 when they released their debut album Coffin Up Blood. The damned thing was so good, it ended up being nominated for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year. The Bloody Jug Band followed that up with 2015’s Rope Burn, and now have just released a new 6-song EP on Halloween Day 2020 called Stranded.
Songs of murder, madness, and eternal damnation have never sounded so fetching, almost anthemic in nature. It’s just such a crazy cross-pollination and juxtaposition of influences and unexpected sounds, you’re caught completely off guard and not exactly sure what you’re experiencing, but you can’t help but enjoy it. It’s so entertaining in the most unintuitive of ways, it’s outright diabolical.
Helmed by singer and washboard player Cragmire Pearce and his willing accomplice Stormy Jean, they growl and hiss about all manner of seedy and scary subject matter, while you bob your head to some of the catchiest melodies you can find in all of music. The guitar on this record is brilliant, and is really what sets it off. There are some solos here that will be the best you hear all year. Just the sheer overall quality of what is supposed to be obscure music from a local band is something to behold.
And yes there are songs about “Tommyknockers,” and demons, ghosts, and creatures “made in laboratories.” But this isn’t just the Disney rendition of Halloween and scary material. With songs like “Lac du Flambeau” and “Hell To Pay,” the Bloody Jug Band have stories to tell, and things to say.
Granted, some of this music maybe isn’t exactly what you would traditionally turn to for Halloween, because you expect spooky songs to all be set in minor chords and accompanied with gruesome sound effects and such. The Bloody Jug Band has those songs in their catalog too, and on this new record specifically like “Last Time” and “Hell To Pay.” But hell, you’ll probably find yourself favoring more of the bright-sounding stuff. Put it on at a party, and you’ll find everyone enjoying it like it’s the latest hit record, when in reality many of the songs are about monsters and manslaughter.
The Bloody Jug Band is just the most insane experience in the best of ways. It’s the Halloween band you never asked for, but can’t live without. Their entire catalog is worth a spin, starting with their debut record Coffin Up Blood. But this new EP adds multiple pieces to their unusual but remarkable repertoire of dark American roots music, making them one of the best of the subgenre, and underscoring how they’re spectacularly undervalued.
– – – – – – – – – – – – –
Purchase from the Bloody Jug Band
October 31, 2020 @ 11:06 am
The first thing that came to mind was; wgaff? Then this
October 31, 2020 @ 11:50 am
I’ve liked this band since the Coffin Up Blood review and they’ve improved a great deal, imo. Really digging this e.p. 3 songs in… For anyone not loving it at least give this song a try https://youtu.be/VvOOyMZav9U
October 31, 2020 @ 4:18 pm
Trigger, I’m anxious to see your review of Me and Sister Bobbie- I’ve read nearly the whole book today- it’s a simple, easy to read story, heart warming and endearing.
I can’t think of a single critic whose review I’d rather read.
October 31, 2020 @ 8:01 pm
Need to get my hands on a copy. I don’t review a lot of books, but it’s on my radar.
October 31, 2020 @ 4:49 pm
Happy Halloween Everyone!
At Hard Truth Hills.
Way fun band, to end the season.
October 31, 2020 @ 6:10 pm
Even not being a full length this is definitely in my top ten this year.
October 31, 2020 @ 8:02 pm
This is a really great album and Bloody Jug Band is a really great band. Hope people actually pay attention to it. They’ll be handsomely rewarded.
October 31, 2020 @ 8:37 pm
Yep they got some great stuff, looking forward to the EP. Refreshing to hear music with a macabre twist!
October 31, 2020 @ 9:51 pm
Great album! Never heard of these guys before, thanks for writing this.
Reminds me of Pine Hill Haints who have been my go to Halloween band for a few years.
November 1, 2020 @ 5:35 am
Good God damn, Trigger. This is good stuff! Thanks for doing what you do, man.
November 2, 2020 @ 2:58 pm
While the music/playing/melodies are top notch, I have to say, the more or less “one track” subject matter got a little tedious after a while.
Don’t get me wrong, not offended by any of it at all, it just seemed to get old.
Your mileage may vary, of course.
November 3, 2020 @ 1:36 pm
When I first read this review I was reminded over another decidedly none county band that I wanted to tell everyone about. After listening to the Bloody Jug band I realize there is no connection, but for the readers here that want to take a wild trip into the unknown check out the record “Voyage in Bad Taste” by The Manx. It’s not country AT ALL but i know many folks here like to branch out.
November 3, 2020 @ 2:36 pm
Great example of why I follow SCM, never heard of these guys and I do a lot of wandering around Spotify. Really like the sound and will follow them going forward. On a side note, listened to 49 Winchester just based on SCM headline banner for new release. Wow where have these guys been in my life. Would love to see a review on III, fantastic album.