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The legacy of Earl McDonald in Louisville, KY

A look at Earl McDonald’s influence on jug band music and the Kentucky music scene through his historical marker at Waterfront Park.

A historical marker reading "Jug Band Pioneer: Earl McDonald (1885-1949) helped establish Louisville as the home of jug band music. An accomplished jug blower, vocalist, composer, leader, and recording artist. Bands in Australia, Europe, and Japan continue to admire, perform, and emulate his 42 recorded tunes of the 1920s and 1930s."

Visit the marker at Waterfront Park. | Photo by @jugbandjubilee

On your way to the Jug Band Jubilee at Waterfront Park, you may see this historical marker dedicated to one of jug band music’s pioneers.

Earl McDonald formed the Louisville Jug Band,which is known as the first jug band to record in a studio. He also fostered a music network among Black musicians which sowed the seeds for the culture of music in River City. His musical talent + love for the community earned him the nickname “king of jug players.”

Visit the marker on the Riverwalk (at 1301 River Rd.) near the Brown Forman-Amphitheater.

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