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York County Jug Band Lands Recording Contract - abc27 WHTM

York County Jug Band Lands Recording Contract

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He's already one of the biggest solo names in cigar box guitars. But now, York county musician Shane Speal has landed a recording contract for a quartet of unique players that he fronts, The Snake Oil Band. During a recording break at Equinox Music and Arts in Dallastown, Speal talked about the band's growing appeal.

"This band is made up of nothing but friends that hang out in a bar on a Wednesday night," said Speal, explaining how the band formed.

"The only way I can describe this band in a one sentence is Black Sabbath as a Jug band," he chuckled.

Speal said his band offers something different and unpredictable.

"We like the jug band. We like Delta blues. The gritty sound of the old Mississippi. But we also like to rock it out."

"We got cigar box guitar, which I play," said Speal. "And a washboard played by West Coast transplant Ronn Benway, a washtub played by "Farmer" Jon Sprenkle, and harmonica, handled amazingly by Aaron Lewis. And the drum is an electrified soda crate that I stomp on with my foot."

"You never expect someone to come up after listening to four strings, a washboard, a harmonica on stage and tell you how great it sounds," said Lewis.

"And I just can't get over I got a bucket and a stick and a weed whacker string and it actually makes correct notes," laughed Sprenkle, pointing to his banged instrument.

The group says making an album is great, but performing live is their favorite time.

"The interaction with the people makes it fun," said Benway. "There's really nothing not fun about this."

Speal says their unique sound evolved through playing lots of jobs, not rehearsing.

"We got a recording contract and we haven't had a single practice ever," he laughed. "It's all from jamming on stage."

The album, titled "Holler!," is due out in late May. In the meantime, you can catch the Snake Oil Band at a festival, upscale lounge or seedy bar near you.

"I'm 44 years old, living the dream," said Speal. "Not making a lot of money, but I'm doing the thing I love most."

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