Live music in Thomson, Illinois means one thing: the Heirloom Market & Cafe. On Saturday night, July 20, one of the most entertaining bluegrass bands in the country put smiles on the faces of the full-house audience, while the folks at the Cafe filled their tummies with great food and drink and gave visitors a dose of their down-home hospitality. As always the Heirloom Market’s ambiance and attention to detail made a perfect night for their guests.
The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, from the “pastoral hills, hollers, shopping malls, and interstate highways of Goodlettsville, Tennessee,” prides itself on hot picking, powerful harmony singing and riotous hijinks.
The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band (top photo, L to R) features the talents of Dan Kelly, fiddle; Mike Armistead, guitar; Leroy Troy, banjo and misc. contraptions; “Lonesome” Lester Armistead, jug; David “Ferg” Ferguson, bass fiddle; and Mike Webb, dobro.
The band brightened up the stage with old-time bluegrass tunes. The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band not only knows the music, they wear the costumes, tell corny jokes, and even do slapstick gags that the audience found hysterical. They perform concerts all over the South, bluegrass festivals, and they’ve appeared on the Grand Ole Opry stage more than a dozen times.
(Right) The crowd spilled over into the distinctive gardens of the Heirloom Market & Cafe, which turned out to be pretty good seats on a warm summer night.