Jug-band music— with its roots in itinerant southern folk culture, quirky homemade instruments, and turn-of-the-century minstrel shows— is a peculiar pursuit in the 1990s. Its well-known connection to blackface performances makes it particularly problematic, always begging the question of whether the white jug-band player means to parody or praise the music's humble origins. John Sebastian (whose later work with the Lovin' Spoonful evolved from his enthusiastic participation in the jug-band revival of the 1960s) brought his J Band to the Bitter End last Thursday to forestall such questions with a clearly reverent presentation of the form. Hyper-aware that records by the Memphis Jug Band and Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers were as popular in the '20s and '30s as "Do You Believe in Magic?" in the fall of 1965, Sebastian exults in how the jug-band legacy exemplifies— and yet transcends— the ephemerality of all fame and... More >>>