Nostalgia will never go away. Lucky for us, that's a good thing.
Take, for instance, Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin, who have garnered considerable praise for playing music of a bygone era. Fans of NPR and the Smithsonian Institution collections should enjoy their tribute to various styles of music from the past.
The duo will perform Saturday night at the CSA Event Center in West Sacramento.
What started as the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the 1960s has morphed into something resembling a musical time capsule. The music was a hodgepodge of old-time blues, folk, country and revivalist traditional ragtime that paid tribute to the 1920s while adding the band's own seasoning. Over the years, the Boston-based group gained somewhat of a cult status among music- ologists.
Although many folks equate the Americana music style with bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown and the Old 97's, many devotees would credit the Jim Kweskin Jug Band as forefathers of the sound. The group's core members, 72-year-old Kweskin (vocals and guitar) and 69-year-old Muldaur (guitar, mandolin, vocals and more), carry on their love of the past, playing semi-frequently as a duo.
Muldaur, talking via telephone from his home in Los Angeles, seemed very enthusiastic about playing with his bandmate and writing music for his own projects.
What's it like playing these days alongside Jim Kweskin?
It's so damn easy. It's like jumping into a freight car. Everything just seems to fall into place, and I don't have to work that hard to make music. I love playing with Jimmy. It's like taking a little time off. We have had some great shows this year.
The Jim Kweskin Jug Band officially broke up in the late '60s. Are there any plans for the surviving members to reunite?
It's funny you should ask that. The 50th anniversary of the Jug Band (and a reunion) will be happening in Tokyo in April. I don't perform very much, since I've been working on this piece.
What is the piece, and what are some of your other projects?
I have many little projects going on. The main thrust of what I'm doing is writing for a chamber ensemble and recording the material in Amsterdam. This is very artsy-fartsy stuff.
What is the process involved in writing such a lengthy, original composition?
At home, I have the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra do readings of my charts and I basically pay them to beat up my music (laughs). When I am in Amsterdam, I have members of the Netherlands Philharmonic and the Mondrian String Quartet help work out my music and recording. I travel there three times a year, but I've been working on this for the better part of three years. I have a patron that is underwriting the project.
Do you find it easier to play solo as opposed to performing in a duo or group?
Playing my own music is much harder. I have to be in very good shape to play solo. It's very hard work.
After these shows, I am concentrating on my solo work, then I am returning to Amsterdam in March.
Richard Thompson once said "There are only three white blues singers, and Geoff Muldaur is at least two of them." Coming from such a living legend, that must feel great.
Of course. When it comes to singing, I don't mind being put on a pedestal. I take good care of my voice and put my heart and feeling into it. There's a lot of preparation that goes into my singing, and I take it very seriously.
GEOFF MULDAUR AND JIM KWESKIN
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: CSA Event Center, 1275 Starboard Drive, West Sacramento