Not to analyze this thing and take all the fun out of it, but it's worth asking why, when so much of 1960s culture is now just quaint pages in scrapbooks, this manifestation should have lasted so long. One answer has to do with how someone who succeeds at being a goofball needs a serious side lurking underneath. The Juggernaut Jug Band operates at a high level of musicianship, and its shows are well thought out and professional. Another clue to the band's durability lies in how it's done something that seems to elude nearly all successful Americans: it's kept things on a small scale. The Juggernaut Jug Band has quite an active touring schedule in schools, resorts, and the occasional corner bar.
Its annual Ann Arbor stop this year it's Friday, February 4 is at the Green Wood Coffeehouse in the lovely glassed-in Methodist church of the same name, in the woods off Green Road. This may well be Ann Arbor's family-friendliest musical venue, and the music of the Juggernaut Jug Band is certainly fun for kids. The sense of wonder instilled by the big contraption the band brings along loaded with whistles, horns, a washboard, and half a dozen other instruments is reason enough to bring the family. But there's quite a remarkable kind of joy here for adults, as well.
[Originally published in February, 2005.]