Apr 14 2014

Record Store Day in Brunswick, Maine

The Van Gogh of the Banjo



The Half Moon Jug Band is the featured performer at Vinylhaven Records in Brunswick, Maine this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for Record Store Day. It’s a nationwide celebration of local, independent records stores — and there’s none finer than Vinylhaven. The store will have free doughnuts and coffee and some way cool vintage record raffles going on. We hope to see you there!

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Dec 9 2013

A jug band we have heard on high

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

Here’s a holiday post and season’s greetings from Troy and Steve at Half Moon Jug Band HQ. Merry Christmas everybody!

Don’t forget these two HMJB Christmas Classics either…


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Nov 26 2013

North Pond Hermit CD is now sold out, but downloads still available

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

The North Pond Hermit, limited run CD is gone, but you can still download the songs.

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Oct 9 2013

Two wicked awesome gigs booked for November

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

The Half Moon Jug Band is making two appearances in Freeport this November at the Theater of Awesome. We’ll be taking their stage (by force if we have to) on Friday night 11/15 and Saturday night 11/16.

It’s an intimate joint that usually hosts world-class jugglers, hypnotists and physical comedians. It’s just a boot toss from L.L. Bean’s big old flagship store. It’s run by our old friends Matt and Jason Tardy, better known these days as AudioBody. They’re a world-class act, themselves. They got their start at the Oddfellow Theater with our other old pal, Mike Miclon. (Speaking of Mike, we’ll be at his new home, Johnson Hall, in the spring, but that’s another story.)

They told us they had some openings in their calendar and we offered to plug them. They thought about it for an uncomfortably long time while kicking imaginary pebbles the floor. But we offered to wax their juggling balls and straighten out their collection of gray jumpsuits and they gave us the go-ahead.

So, mark your calendars and start bugging those guys for tickets. The Theater of Awesome just might sell out!bles on the floor. Yay!


Theater of Awesome

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Jul 22 2013

Five Songs from Steve-O

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

five_songsHere are Five Songs on Spotify HMJB bass and sax man Steve-O thinks you should hear. They’re a quintet of some of his favorite jazz fusion-ish tracks. If you’re unfamiliar with the streaming music service Spotify, click HERE.

Jean-Luc Ponty: Is Once Enough? – This brings back memories of being a teenager. The lineup of musicians on the “Aurora” album is my favorite, with Darryl Stuermer on guitar and Patrice Rushen on Keyboards. WTOS used to have a jazz show in the evenings. They’s mix it in with their rock stuff and I always listened for these guys. I had to hook my crappy stereo receiver up to a wire from the cable TV to get a good signal. These days, I keep expecting to hear it fade out with a bit of crackle and hiss.

Jean-Luc Ponty: Egocentric Molecules -This is a French guy named Ralphe Armstrong playing bass. Whenever I get down about playing bass, how it can seem unimportant, I listen to this and I feel better. It’s a great groove all the way through the solo and he only uses four strings.

Grover Washinton Jr: Take Five (Take Another Five) – It’s just a fantastic solo from beginning to end. What can you say? There is a real jazz and blues feel that sounds fantastic — that’s such a value-laden comment, it doesn’t mean anything. But this is so great, especially for a solo that stays so close to the melody, I can’t think of anything better to say about it. Listen to it and you’ll know what I mean.

Grover Washington Jr: Jamaica – His tone is absolutely perfect on the saxophone which is so hard to do on these low notes. And he’s still melodic even though he’s playing extremely low.

Miles Davis: So What – I love the acoustic bass intro by Paul Chambers which winds up being the groove for the song. I like the way he’s ahead of it. He really carries it along. I wish I could play upright like that. OK, so it’s not fusion jazz. It came out in 1959 but, so what? Miles fits anywhere.


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Jun 30 2013

Oh Yeah

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

We spent Saturday morning goofing around at Deering Oaks Park in Portland. Did people stare? Yes. Did we care? No. We were having way too much fun. If you have half as much fun watching this video as we had making it, then we enjoyed it twice as much as you.

The song is featured on our newest EP, released by Vacationland Music, “The North Pond Hermit.”


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Jun 23 2013

Concert for Fiddlin’ Phil from Munjoy Hill

The Van Gogh of the Banjo

Fiddlin’ Phil from Munjoy Hill. That’s what they called him. He was a fiddler. A damn good fiddler, too. A long-time denizen of Atlantic Street on Munjoy Hill in Portland, he was also a carpenter, a father, a husband, a storyteller, a drinker. We miss him. Join us as we spend a night spinning stories and playing tunes in his memory. He’s gone, but not forgotten, as long as we remember him.

Join us Wednesday July 3rd at 7PM for an all-star line up of Friends of Phil.

Ticket fees will be split between St. Lawrence Arts and TheGiftsofMusic.org.



UP JUMPED THE DANCERS (words and music by Troy R. Bennett)

There he’d stand just as thin as a rail with a fiddle snuggled underneath his chin
A gray mop of hair flopped over his face, Lucky Strike and a mustache grin
He’d drain his pint, finish his smoke, tune the fiddle and rosin up the bow
Then the tunes took flight in the dimming light, “Smash the Windows” and “Off She Goes”
Up jumped the dancers, down went the pints
On cold winter evenings and those hot summer nights
He made us all feel better and he made us feel alright
When up jumped the dancers and down went the pints
Like “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” “Drowsy Maggie went to “Lannagan’s Ball”
On a “Cold Frosty Morning” a jig without warning, his fingers could fiddle them all
His right hand kept them dancing, his left hand would make them cry
Weddings and waltzes, jigs and reels, breaking hearts and making feet fly
But the tunes can’t go on forever
Every night it comes to an end
By and by every pint runs dry
And the dancers head home again
The fire went out in his fingers and the light went out in his eye
Before we knew he was missing at all, he left without saying goodbye
He had his own devils to wrestle they say, he had his own demons to fight
What I wouldn’t give to hear him today and watch his fiddle light up the night.
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