Jim Kweskin is the founder of the legendary 1960s Jim Kweskin Jug Band with Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Mel Lyman and Bruno Wolfe. During the five years they were together, they successfully transformed the sounds of pre-World War II rural music into a springboard for their good-humored performances. Their imitators were legion, including a San Francisco jug band that became the Grateful Dead, a Los Angeles jug band that became the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and a New York jug band that became the Lovin’ Spoonful. No other group attained their unique blend of youthful energy and antiquarian expertise, tight musicianship, loose camaraderie, and infectious swing.
These days Jim is best known as a singer and bandleader, but he also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Mississippi John Hurt and Pink Anderson to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician, and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist. He has recorded many solo ventures, as a member of the U and I band, with band-mate Geoff Muldaur, with Samoa Wilson, with The Texas Sheiks as well as performing and recording with a wide variety of well-known musicians such as Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, David Grisman, Cindy Cashdollar, Happy Traum, Meredith Axelrod, Juli Crockett and Samoa Wilson, to name a few.
Jim Kweskin’s shows radiate charm, humor, sophistication and talent. Jim sings a collection of familiar songs by Benny Goodman, Johnny Mercer, the Sons of the Pioneers, Fats Waller, and Somethin’ Smith & the Redheads. There’s an endearing sense of good humor to Kweskin’s interpretations that makes his performances a delight. Because of his vast repertoire and love of the music, Kweskin is recognized as one of the best interpreters of the great American songbook.