Hailing from the mountain towns of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland, The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers draw freely from Old-Time, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, and Swing music to create their own brand of high energy, Appalachian Bluegrass. Gary Antol (guitar/vocals) and Libby Eddy (fiddle/vocals) founded the band in 2014 with a very simple goal: write good songs, honor the music, and take it to the road. Their music, described as heavy and traditional with stirring harmonies, powerful instrumentation, and a progressive originality, has been experienced on festival stages including Delfest, Grey Fox, Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, Darrington Bluegrass Festival, and others across the country. JFS was honored to be an Official Showcase Artist at IBMA Bluegrass Ramble 2018.
In 2015, the band released their debut album, The Lane Change, a collection of both original and traditional songs focusing on journeys through personal relationships as well as life in the coal mining towns of central Appalachia. The album was well received by fans and critics alike. “Mannington #9,” a searing tale of lives lost in a 1968 mining disaster in Mannington, WV, was featured in the Relix Magazine 2015 Summer CD Sampler. Written by West Virginia storyteller and old time musician, Keith McManus, the song’s driving rhythm and haunting melody capture the loss suffered by 78 families in this tragic accident. The Lane Change also featured the powerhouse harmonies of Antol and Eddy on titles such as “No Ash Will Burn” and “Blue Diamond Mines.” Summer of 2016 saw two major highlights for the band. In addition to playing The Emerging Artist Showcase at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, the band released its sophomore effort, White Lightning Road. The title track, written by Fort Wayne, IN songwriter, Darren Hunt, follows the path of a moonshiner trying to survive in a dying coal town. The song’s soaring vocals showcase Libby Eddy’s uniquely Appalachian voice, steeped in the cultural traditions of her rural West Virginia upbringing, with the strength of a people ready to fight for survival. Hunt also contributed to Ray Steven’s inspired and instantly familiar, “Get Along Gone.” WYEP FM Pittsburgh listed White Lightning Road as one of the top ten bluegrass albums of 2016. WYEP has also featured two of Antol’s compositions on their “Local 913” program: “The Legend of Gandy Grey” (The Lane Change) and “Smokestacks” (White Lightning Road).
In 2018, the band released their third studio effort, Poison River, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Will Shenk at National Media Services in Front Royal, VA. Poison River features original music written by Antol, Eddy, and mandolinist, Ray Bruckman. Along with the addition of Bruckman on mandolin, the album features Jody Mosser, lending his soulful dobro playing to the sound. Appalachian Jamwich’s review of the album called it “pure musical magic.” The album’s lead single “When the Redbud Blooms” received national airplay including a premier on Annette Grady’s The Bluegrass Jamboree.
The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, NY. (2016)
The Great Blue Heron Music Festival, Sherman, NY (2015-16)
The Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA (2015)
The Deep Roots Mountain Revival, Masontown, WV, (2016)
Sleepy Creek SpringDig (2015)
Sleepy Creek HarFest (2016)
Music for MS, Pittsburgh, PA
The Whiskey Rebellion Festival, Washington, PA. (2011 thru 2016)
Smoked Country Jam, Cross Fork, PA (2014, 15, 16)
The BayGrass Bluegrass Festival, Islamorada, FL (2015-2016)
Stony Creek Bluegrass Festival, Greenville, VA
Pickin in the Pasture, Vermont
Meeting of the Minds 8, Schullykill Haven, PA
Some Kind of Jam, Schullykill Haven, PA
The Modesto Unplugged Music Festival, Modesto, CA.
Windber Bluegrass in the Park, Windber PA.
The Downtown Edinboro Arts and Music Festival--Edinboro, PA
The Steep Canyon Rangers
The Black Lillies
Pure Prairie League
Frank Solovan and The Dirty Kitchen
The Rumpke Mountain Boys
Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellies
"Outsiders" WGN America
Live from Center Stage--Cape Cod, MA
Dirty Dog Live, Meadville PA.
Pittsburgh Today, KDKA, Pittsburgh PA.
The Blue Plate Special, WDVX Knoxville, TN--June 2015/January 2016
Live Music Showcase, WMNF, Tampa Jan 2016
Froggy FM, Pittsburgh PA
WBGU, Bowling Green University, Bowling Green OH. The Folk Show
Acoustisongs Live, WNJR Washington PA.
WAMU, Bluegrass Country, Washington DC
WLUR Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA
WFDU--Bluegrass Express, Farleigh Dickson University, NJ.
KBOO--Music from the Vine, Portland OR
KCDN--Bluegrass, Etc.. Los Angeles, CA
WYEP--Pittsburgh, PAWWOV--My Roots are Showing, Wheeling WV.