Tennessee Mafia Jug Band takes Blue Blaze award at Smithville

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band took home the Blue Blaze Award at the 46th annual Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree and Crafts Festival. They are the first band to receive the prestigious prize and the fourth recipient of the honor. Darrin Vincent, Sierra Hull, and Danny Roberts of The Grascals are the past winners. Created in 2014, the Fiddler’s Jamboree Blue Blaze Award is given to musicians who actively cultivate a love of bluegrass music.

“What a great privilege it is to get the Blue Blaze award,” Mike Armistead told the crowd. “Even though we did turn the thermostat down, it’s not as blue blazing hot as it normally is in Smithville. Hope you don’t mind. Thank you again. We really do appreciate it. I know it will look really nice on Leroy’s mantle along with all the other awards.”

“Anytime I get an award you better believe I worked for it,” Leroy Troy, said with a laugh during an interview prior to the show.

In addition to Armistead (guitar) and Leroy Troy (banjo), the other band members are fiddler Dan Kelly, Dobro player Mike Webb, and Ernie Sykes. Kent Blanton filled in on bass fiddle for Sykes, who continues to recover from a stroke he suffered in the spring. Sykes still sang and hammed it up in some of the comedy bits during the band’s performance following the awards presentation.

Self-billed as “five guys and a scrub board with roots like wisdom teeth,” the Jug Band captures the old-time Appalachian spirit with their comedy routines and rib-tickling tunes like Too Old to Cut the Mustard, What a Waste of Good Corn Liquor and Slide Them Jugs Down the Mountain.

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Bill Conger

Bill Conger has been a music journalist for 23 years for a variety of TV, radio, print, and websites including TNN, CMT, CMT.com, GACTV.com, Country Music Today, Bluegrass Unlimited, and www.songwriteruniverse.com.