ABOUT THE BAND
After 40 years of playing together, Washboard Slim and the Bluelights has evolved into one of the country's most versatile and original of jug bands.
Book us for your next private or public event and you will not be disappointed!
Peter (Washboard Slim) Menta - Drums, Harmonica, Kazoo, Washboard, Vocals. A thirty year veteran, performing jug band and blues music, Washboard Slim was featured at the Philadelphia Folk Festival with the Barrelhouse Boys. In addition, he has appeared on stage with Willie Dixon, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Geoff Muldaur, Eric Von Schmidt, Fritz Richmond and Dave Van Ronk.
Brooks Barnett - Accordion, Banjo, Drums, Guitar, Mandolin, Piano, Vocals. Our “ace utility player” originally from West Virginia, Brooks combines a love of old time mountain music and classic rock and roll that complements the band’s sound. With over twenty years of professional playing experience, Brooks is an excellent vocalist and arranges harmonies for the group.
Howard Horn - Banjo, Jug, Washtub Bass, Vocals. Howie and Slim were both members of the Ten Years Late Jug Band and Nevard and the Barrelhouse Boys, touring the northeast for over ten years. Featured performances included the Louisville Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Cambridge River Festival, and the New Haven Jazz Festival. A stunning virtuoso on jug and bass, Howie is also known for his amusing stage patter.
Mat Kastner - Banjo, Guitar, National Steel Guitar. A veteran Connecticut folk and rock musician, Mat achieved national recognition as lead guitarist with Mercury recording artist, Randy Burns.
John Pendergast - Guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals.. John has played with a number of well known swing bands all over the United States and has toured nationally with the Juggernaut Jug Band.
Mark Crofutt - Banjolele, Drums, Guitar, Percussion, Ukelele, Vocals. Mark began his musical career some 50 years ago straddling "both sides of the fence", playing acoustic/folk/blues/jug band, and electric rock 'n roll. Joining the Bluelights as "utility man," Mark is on the bill as the "seventh Bluelight" for most shows.
And now...Read about our newest member: Lauren Agnelli.
Lauren Agnelli is a prolific songwriter, singer, guitarist, ukelele and kazoo player, She started out as rock writer (for the Village Voice & Creem, mainly) in the ‘70’s and then switched into primarily making music onstage and in the studio. She joined the ranks of the "new wavers" from the CBGBs/Max's scene in the '70's -- with a band called Nervus Rex, who recorded an album in 1979 with “Commander” Mike Chapman. After an 18-month sojourn in England, she co-founded and played in the Washington Squares in the '80's. The Squares toured everywhere, recorded two albums, and were Grammy-nominated in 1987. In 1990, she met Canadian musician Dave Rave DesRoches, and continued to write and make music with this prolific songwriter and rocker in the ‘90’s, They recorded 3 albums together.
In the early ‘90’s, Lauren joined forces with Texas band Brave Combo to record the disc Kiss of Fire. Lauren and Brave Combo toured to support the album and appeared at South by Southwest to a packed crowd of hundreds. Kiss of Fire remains a cult gem, with great original songs like “J’ai Faim, Toujours,” “Serendipity,” “Burn Slow” and “Candles”.
In 2003 Lauren married and moved to CT, to a small town called Chester. Lauren started to return to her folkie/Americana roots, making music with the Small Town Concert Series (which she co-ran) and the Americana group Amalgamated Muck.
As luck always has it, opportunity knocked in late 2015. Lauren was asked to join Washboard Slim and the Blue Lights. “This band is really cool. Their musicianship is topnotch, their material sounds great to me, and it’s fun to sing and play with them. In fact, this band is the closest thing to the Brave Combo that Connecticut has to offer! Now, if we only can do more polkas,” Lauren says, half-jokingly. “The songs of sin and salvation fit very nicely with the current political situation and life in general,” she adds, “If the Apocalypse is on our doorstep, might as well go out singing and shakin’ a tail feather!”
Can we brag a little about Lauren's band from the '80, The Washington Squares, and her work with Brave Combo?
The Washington Squares, released in 1987, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Their second album Fair and Square, produced by Steve Soles, followed in 1989. Their albums reportedly sold in excess of 150,000 copies each.
Here are some videos of the Washington Squares in action:
For more info go to https://washingtonsquares.com/.
In the early ‘90’s, Lauren and her friends in the nuclear polka band, Brave Combo, conceptualized an album based on an image burned in leader Carl Finch’s brain: a matchbook cover with fire and the French word Allumettes. The project was picked up by Japan's J-Wave Music and released as A Way to Say Goodbye, which charted in the Tokyo Top 100. In the U.S. the album was re-named Kiss of Fire, released by Texas label Watermelon Records.
Click to hear Kiss of Fire.
Click to hear J'ai Faim Toujours.