The Norman Transcript

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July 4, 2013

The Great American Jug Band throws first release party

NORMAN — “It’s going to be a rowdy and fun concert,” Will Gardner said. “What you need to know about The Great American Jug Band (GAJB) is that we’re where indie rock and red dirt music collide.”

Gardner leads the six-piece outfit that creates an amalgamation of these two robust genres with a healthy dose of performance art. Don’t expect to actually hear a jug being played, they don’t have one. The Great American Jug Band will perform in concert tonight at 10 at The Deli, 309 White St. Cost is $5.

GAJB’s name makes you expect Henryetta hayseed and what you get is clever Norman skiffle. They recall Austin’s Possum Posse for their irreverent humor and vaguely country vibe.

“There’s going to be a lot of hooting and hollering,” Gardner said. “We definitely interact with the audience.”

Creating a personal connection that goes beyond just listening to music and making the concert an overall experience is the Norman native’s goal.

“If there’s one thing I live for it’s to give you the best show every single time we take the stage,” Gardner said. “I guarantee I will put my heart and soul into it because this means the world to me.”

Gardner’s not exaggerating. GAJB’s new album is all his originals that were written from intimate personal experiences. Women who have broken his heart, goofy road trips with best friends to score porn in Texas and warm memories of being snowed-in during blizzards define the songs. Toning down lyrics for broad social acceptability isn’t part of his credo. The composition titled “Love and Drugs” inserted here.

Gardner co-wrote a twisted children’s song called “Little Bird” with his pal the left coast screenwriter Patrick Rieger. It’s about tiny creatures meeting their demise with a jaunty kazoo score. There’s a moving-on tune memorializing travel to Africa titled “Leaving Phalaborwa” and a faux distressing ditty on unrequited love.

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