LESTER'S LOAFIN' LOUNGE - New CD from The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band!

Image635730574350993883The Tennessee Mafia Jug band has been called the most entertaining “blast from the past” to ever pluck a string.

With impressive individual credentials, this band of artists is rooted in tradition, but with innovative branches. The group is set to release its fifth studio album, Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge.

Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge is set for release July 24, 2015.

It is a special project for the band, one that’s been long planned and meticulously created. Writing and recording took a backseat when founding member “Lonesome” Lester Armistead, father of guitarist/singer Mike Armistead, was diagnosed with cancer. The amiable senior Armistead with the piercing tenor lost his battle in early 2014 and it is in his memory that the new album tips a hat.

In the wake of his passing, the band became more determined to see to fruition the project that would pay homage to Lester, band also present well-crafted songs rooted in the great traditions of Country, Folk/Roots, Bluegrass and Americana music.

Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge also happens to be a real place situated in the hills of Goodlettsville, Tenn., that Lester held dear. Son, Mike Armistead, now owns and maintains the lounge, a former general store, where many a jam session has been held with some of the most iconic names in music participating … “just friends” to the members of this band.

“Lonesome Lester always carried a smile, a helping hand, a joke at the ready and was always first to offer a drink to a friend dropping by at the Lounge,” said Mike Armistead.

Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge was recorded as in the “good ol’ days” with analog tape at Fry Pharmacy in Old Hickory, Tennessee. The Fry Pharmacy is an “open-air” studio; it has no control room. The engineers and equipment work right alongside artists in the tracking room.  The album includes special musical guest appearances by Marty Stuart, “Handsome” Harry Stinson, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Kayton Roberts, George Harper and album producer, Eric Heatherley.

“We just wanted to make the best album possible,” guitarist, Mike Armistead says. “Whatever the song called for, whether drums, lap steel, bells, whistles or fireworks, we just put everything into each song with the jug band flavor and respect for the song.”

Lester’s Loafin’ Lounge has 14 “official” tracks filled with rib-tickling old-time tunes as well as some new ones including, the title track “Lester’s Loafin Lounge,” one of three tunes written by the Jug Band’s own Mike Webb.


The band has toured throughout North America and Europe. The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band members not only know the music and perform it with exquisite precision; they also know the corny jokes and slapstick gags that throw an audience into hysterics. Their credits include RFD-TV’s popular Marty Stuart Show, CMT, GAC, Music for the soundtrack of the motion picture “Yellowbird,” providing entertainment for the society wedding of Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie, and more than a dozen appearances on the world famous Grand Ole Opry and Washington DC’s Kennedy Center. Members of the band each have a long and impressive legacy in music and entertainment.


Lester’s Loafin Lounge is a real place situated in the hills of Goodlettsville, Tennessee. It’s been the site of many “picking parties” bordering on legendary status. Like the song states, Opry stars, movie stars, and even rock stars have been to the Lounge. It’s the kind of place that you’d love to just sit around and tell lies, jokes, pick a song, write a song or enjoy a good home cooked meal. It was once a general store that went out of business December 11, 1934 due to a murder in the store of the owner over moonshine. It remained vacant for many years until Lonesome Lester Armistead took ownership of the property in the 1970s. Thinking it would be a fun project he along with his family drove many a mile on old roads throughout Tennessee and Kentucky “picking” old signs, anything related to an old country store before it became a show on television and before a famous restaurant chain began buying up anything related to old country store memorabilia. The Loafin’ Lounge has been the site of many cd covers, family reunions, video shoots, calendar shoots, wedding shoots, family portrait shoots and more. It’s seen its share of memorable evenings indeed. In the pursuit of developing an “Opry yesteryear” type show for IBMA some of the very first rehearsals for the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band occurred there. Marty Stuart even shot what one would argue to the pilot for his famous TV show in the store. His first guests on that show were the Sullivan’s, The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band and Old Crow Medicine Show.

A bonus 15th track is included as a special gift for fans and longtime friends of the band. Stumbled across in the archives, this work-in-progress is a demo of a song that “Lonesome” Lester had been working on years ago.


The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band is a 2014 recipient of the TRAILBLAZER AWARD at Uncle Dave Macon Days. The award is bestowed on artists for contributions to old-time music and in recognition of performance and preservation of traditional music. Additionally, Uncle Dave Macon Days organizers have reinstated the jug band competition, which had been discontinued several years prior. The competition returned this year as part of the annual old time music festival and the award is now named for Lester A. Armistead, who was well-known and beloved among Bluegrass, Acoustic and Americana artists.

The band holds the distinction of being the only guest band to appear on every season of Marty Stuart’s popular and long-running show on the RFD-TV network.

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band is banjoist and songster Leroy Troy; award-winning fiddler Dan Kelly; bass fiddle player Ernie Sykes, who has the distinction of being the final bass player in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys; guitar player and vocalist, Mike Armistead; and songwriter Mike Webb, who plays the resonator guitar and also plays old time banjo and rhythm guitar.

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