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'Swinging' Zombies let free to do gig at South on Main

By Sean Clancy

This article was published September 7, 2017 at 1:44 a.m.

bluesboy-jag-the-juke-joint-zombies-will-bring-their-boogie-woogie-to-south-on-main-in-little-rock-on-saturday

Bluesboy Jag & The Juke Joint Zombies will bring their boogie woogie to South on Main in Little Rock on Saturday.

Bluesboy Jag & The Juke Joint Zombies

9 p.m. Saturday, South on Main, 1304 S. Main St., Little Rock

Admission: $5

(501) 244-9660

southonmain.com

Bluesboy Jag & The Juke Joint Zombies will come to life Saturday at South on Main in Little Rock.

The five-piece Little Rock-based outfit will hit the stage with its trademark, upbeat boogie and blues, says guitarist-singer Bill Jagitsch, the Bluesboy Jag in the band's name.

"We do a few slow songs, but most of them are pretty swinging," he says. "There are a couple that are rock-influenced blues, like Stevie Ray Vaughan, but even those have a shuffle or a swing feel. It's a pretty energetic show."

Though the band's motto is "Swinging blues like it's 1955," they aren't exactly stuck in the '50s, Jagitsch says.

"It's a combination of all sorts of styles. We do everything from the 1920s up to the '80s. We do some Memphis Minnie and standards like Muddy Waters. We also do a little hill country blues like R.L. Burnside and a little of the contemporary stuff like Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt."

Jagitsch, 55, was born in Michigan, grew up in Little Rock, spent some time Austin, Texas, and settled back here in 2004. He has been playing in bands since his first group, a '70s hard rock cover band called Black Molly, got together in 1980.

"The first gig we ever played was the Hall High Carnival," he says.

With the Zombies, Jagitsch wields a rather interesting ax.

"I play a cigar-box guitar," he says. "I also make them and have been selling them on the internet since 2005."

Jagitsch says he got interested in making the instruments after reading an article in the hobbyist magazine Make.

"They had an article about cigar-box guitars and I remembered back in my 20s reading a story about the history of the guitar and blues and that Buddy Guy had a cigar-box guitar."

Intrigued, Jagitsch, who was playing blues solo at the time, went to work making and, later, selling them.

"It just took off," he says, adding that he has made about 4,000 of the instruments.

"I sell a whole lot to beginning guitar players," he says. "These are predominantly three- and four-string guitars, though I do make six-strings, too."

Jagitsch, his handmade guitar and the Juke Joint Zombies are familiar faces at South on Main. The band has played there several times since it opened in 2013, including a Sun Records-theme show that also featured Arkansas rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess, who died Aug. 18 at 88.

"They put on an incredible show," Jagitsch says of Sonny Burgess and The Pacers. "The first time I ever heard about him was when I was a kid. They had a song about the Arkansas-Texas football game, 'Short, Squashed Texan,' they would re-release every year when Arkansas played Texas. I got it when I was about 12. It was just The Pacers then. I had no idea that it was the same Sonny Burgess that I became aware of later."

Weekend on 09/07/2017

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