Spring 2016 – New Mexico State Guitar Dedication – Our very own Ben Perea ( banjo and guitar) was honored by the Pimentel family of Pimentel Guitars ( Albuquerque ) when he was asked to and played the New Mexico State guitar at the dedication ceremony in Santa Fe this spring. The Pimentel family are internationally known as luthiers ( makers of guitars ) and were commissioned by the State of New Mexico to design and build the state guitar.
2015 – Hot off the press!! The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band is one of Albuquerque’s Legendary Locals, a new book written by Richard Melzer highlighting individuals who have “significantly contributed to Albuquerque’s character, development, and deserved reputation.. and make a visit to Albuquerque even more impressive and interesting…”Other legendary locals include Lorenzo Pimentel and Pimentel Guitars, Glenn Campbell, Jim Morrison, Rudolfo Anaya, “Walter White”, Neil Patrick Harris, Thomas Popejoy, Clyde Tingley., et. al.
Watermelon Mountain Jug Band
“ a truly unique mixture of music, mirth and pure entertainment ”
The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band has been entertaining audiences, young and old, since 1975. Yes, celebrating in 2015, 42 years of performing!! True to the original 1920’s jug bands of the South, our music comes alive with washboard, jug, kazoo, washtub bass, jaw harp, guitar and banjo. The band delights audiences with country, bluegrass jug band, ragtime and original music and even some rock ’n roll classics. Ben might even play a classical music piece! Performances have included appearances at the KIMO Theater, Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque Bio Park, Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival, Placitas Artists Series, International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, with the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and much more! We also play for national and international conferences, weddings, private parties, school and community events. Our latest CD, “Radio Station WMJB,” was released in 2011. Other special recognition includes: being chosen by Jim Kweskin as one of the top 20 jug bands in the USA for the CD “Jugs Across America”; receiving recognition by NM Music Awards for an original song “Beer” written by Pat Houlihan; and Ben playing the NM state guitar at the dedication ceremony at the request of Pimentel Guitars.
Members of The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band are professionals on stage as well as off. Gary Oleson (washtub bass) is a retired math teacher from Los Lunas High School. Five-time New Mexico banjo champion Ben Perea (banjo, guitar) is a retired band director from Valley High School in Albuquerque and owner of New Mexico Academy of Driving in Rio Rancho. Pat Houlihan (vocals, guitar, jaw harp, kazoo, jug) is a professor of English at Central New Mexico Community College (CNM). Barbara Piper (washboard, high-hat, percussion, background vocals) is a retired teacher from Albuquerque Public Schools and an independent educational consultant.
The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band has been recognized as “one of New Mexico’s treasured natural resources”…“a truly unique mixture of music, mirth and pure entertainment”…“totally irresistible.” So sing along! Grab a kazoo and enjoy! It’s just too much fun to miss!
What audiences say about The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band:
“Opening the evening’s concert was The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band which demonstrated again that it’s one of New Mexico’s most treasured natural resources.” – T. M., Albuquerque Journal
“Watermelon Mountain Jug Band, your music is delicious to the ear ! What a great evening of music.” – attendee of the National Environmental Balancing Association (NEBB) at their international conference at Hotel Andaluz in Albuquerque
“We may be a good dance couple, BUT we are only as good as the band! You guys are terrific! ” – dance couple of 45 years ( 2013 )
“Thank you for a great 4th of July celebration. Your sound was fantastic, excellent instrumentals and vocals, great energy and soliciting of audience participation, you looked good, very upbeat, quite enjoyable all around. ” – NM Tech Performing Arts Series
” The band received so many compliments in 2012. The band’s music was just what we needed to start the day! It set the mood. The vendors and attendees started their day at the festival in a fun, happy mood.” – K.S., Lavender Festival – Village of Los Ranchos
“Your commitment to good times, great music and joyful and wholesome entertainment has always been obvious the moment you all take the stage to your final encore (always a standing ovation!). You have the gift of music and are using it unselfishly to brighten the community around you. Thank you for the many smiles you have brought to all who have ever had the pleasure of watching you perform…” – M. Molony, Sandia Presbyterian Church
“Thanks again for the amazing performance at our wedding. What an outstanding performance! ” – Liz (a new bride)
“I’m listening to The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band CD right now and it is great!” – Bryan, Music Director, KAOS Radio, Olympia, WA
“We loved our wedding so much, partly because it was the most fun party we’ve been to. That has a lot to do with you all. Thanks for a rollicking good time.” – M and T (bride and groom)
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to the band for such a marvelous performance. You were worth twice the money had I had it to give!! The following day everyone complimented me on how good the talent was! They really had a grand time.” – L. B., National Conference Planner
“Special thanks for being great to work with. We were ‘wowed’ by the performance of The Watermelon Mountain Jug Band. You are special!” – B., Event Planner for a national reunion
Credits: Photos by Shawna Cory; Angelina Skonieczka; Wende Woolley Logo by Ben Perea