As subgenres of country music go, the jug-band sound is second only to clogging in terms of obscurity and neglect. Jim Kweskin and the Holy Modal Rounders revived the raggedy-timed bounce in the '60s, but nobody, not even buskers, has touched it much since. In steps Devil in a Woodpile
, a three-piece from Chicago that replaces the clay jug with a tuba, though they won't replace their rusty steel strings. Instead, they stick fast to the washboard, harmonica and teetering amateurism of hillbilly music played for and by those same hillbillies -- even when lost in the big city. Rick "Cooking" Sherry sings like a younger, higher Tom Waits, and Gary Schepers and Paul K. toot and twang and stomp like rounders trying to jam their way out of the clink. The trio hardly shake the earth, but they'll give your fanny a good bluesy goose.
Also on the bill are Adam Reichmann and Anne Tkach of Nadine, as well as a new outfit led by former Wilco instrumentalist Jay Bennett and Champaign, Ill., zine editor Edward Birch (pictured), who (so the alt-country rumor mill claims) have already recorded together. Restlessly pursuing all of the guitar/keyboard/synth spectrum, Bennett was the linchpin of much of what has made Wilco's music so exciting over the years. Odds are his post-Tweedy music will carry on that imaginative commotion. But you won't know unless you go, will you?