The Junco Royals: On Starting a New Trad Jazz Band in 2019

In many ways, the existence and growth of the band Junco Royals was made possible through the standard millennial catalyst: the internet and more specifically, YouTube. I found my passion for traditional jazz when I started searching the internet for music similar to the traditional Appalachian fiddle music I had been playing for a couple years. The band that really resonated with me was Tuba Skinny. They embodied the aspect about traditional music that I loved but didn’t yet know how to articulate. They just seemed like normal people playing folk music really well. The way they just got out on the street in normal clothes and played this fairly complicated genre made it seem attainable and accessible. I immediately felt like it was not only cool to like this music, but that it didn’t need to feel antiquated. Instead, there was a way to just make it feel American. I wanted to contribute to the possibility that America could reclaim some of its musical culture from the era-specific stereotype that traditional music is often plagued with. I also wanted to claim some of that American culture for myself, for my own national identity. For Molly, our clarinetist and a founding member of the band, the path to traditional jazz was more hands-on. “When I was in college at Florida State University in Tallahassee, a spot in a band called The Yellow Dog Jazz Band fell into my lap. The Yello
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Madison Taylor is a guitarist with the Junco Royals. Molly Sweet (who plays clarinet with the band) also contributed to this essay. For more information, write [email protected]

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