Basic Folk: Jim Kweskin

Jim Kweskin is maybe the most famous person you might not know. With the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, he mixed together folk and jazz which invigorated the straight-laced Cambridge folk scene in the 1960’s. That jug band went on to inspire other jug bands that later became the Grateful Dead and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. A regular at Club 47 – now Club Passim – Kweskin talks about how he came to the jug band style and how his band’s relaxed stage presence changed the dynamic of the live folk show in profound ways.

Jim also talks about his early life and his interest in music in general but especially being drawn to early jazz from the 1920’s and 1930’s. That early interest would come to define his musicality throughout his career. We also talk about his connection to Bob Dylan and how Dylan took him to visit Woody Guthrie in the hospital towards the end of Woody’s life.

Jim’s a really interesting guy with so much historical knowledge on the topic of jazz, folk, and jug band music. Thanks to the very kind staff at Nantucket Atheneum for setting up this interview! I’m so glad we had a chance to do it. Hope you enjoy!


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