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With feet firmly planted in the old-time song tradition, hands soiled by the dirt of rock n' roll and eyes fixed steadily on the future of real country music, the Hackensaw Boys are among the most exciting groups charting new territory in today's diverse Americana music scene.
How does it work?
Everybody sings a bit of lead, everybody sings a bit of harmony and most members know when to shut up. Instrumentation includes banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica, upright bass, charismo (a home-made tin can contraption) and the occasional trap kit.
Where do they come from?
In the beginning they all lived in Charlottesville, VA, but now the seven members are spread throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and California. For more than a decade, however, they've come together to tour the United States, Europe and the U.K. and to record several critically acclaimed albums.
Who are they?
The group's lineup includes:
Ward Harrison (strings and thumb picks)
Shawn Galbraith (strings and resonators)
Ferd Moyse (strings and horsehair)
Jesse Fiske (strings and reeds)
Rob Bullington (strings and splinters)
Brian Gorby (traps and sticks)
Justin Neuhardt (cans and skins)
The groups latest effort, The Old Sound of Music, Vol. 1, delivers original material that draws upon the songwriting talents of its members. This six-song collection will be followed by a companion Volume 2 early in 2011. The two projects are the result of recording sessions held at the decaying but comfortable Sound of Music studios on Broad Street in Richmond, VA before it moved to a different decaying but comfortable building on Grace Street. The recordings were mastered by Grammy award winner Charlie Pilzer at Airshow Mastering in Takoma Park, MD. As with the groups previous album, Look Out (Nettwerk Records, 2007), all songs were engineered by Library of Congress archival audio restoration specialist (and all around good guy) Bryan Hoffa.
Ancient History: In the fall of 2000, twelve musicians and a photographer friend left the Blue Moon Diner in Charlottesville, VA in a 1964 GMC motorcoach (The Dirty Bird) and circled the country on a six-week tour of theaters, bars, street corners and alleys.
History: The Hackensaws have toured with a bevy of diverse acts that were quick to embrace the groups sound and songcraft, including: The Flaming Lips, Cracker, Modest Mouse, Camper Van Beethoven, The Detroit Cobras, Cake, Railroad Earth, Cheap Trick and De La Soul. In 2003, the Hackensaw Boys were honored to serve as Charlie Louvins backing band on that Country Music Hall of Fame members nationwide tour.
Recent History: Appearances at numerous festivals including Pukelpop in Belgium, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Bergenfest in Norway, Telluride in Colorado, Belfast Folk Festival in Ireland, Floyd Fest in Virginia, Lowlands in the Netherlands, Pickathon in Oregon, and more...
More Recent History: Really good times in places like Seattle, Antwerp, Asheville, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Knoxville, London, New York, Portland, Utrecht, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago, Dublin, Los Angeles, and more
Current Events: Favoring brown liquor over white wine and PBR over imports; not getting quite enough sleep to function well, but getting just enough sleep to function well enough.
Really Current Events: Trying to decide between salty and sweet at a convenience store on the side of a highway somewhere.
A Bit of Press
"The seams of the music: a deeply rooted country sensibility, a colorful cast of singers and musicians, a sense of humour, and threads bound to punk rock just as much as country and folk music. What stands at the apex of this group though is the original songwriting." -Lucidforge Arts and Entertainment Websource
"One never doubts the Hackensaw Boys are giving you everything they have in them. Its refreshing in a world of half measures and empty talk. They have their sights on the right things and it always comes through in their music." -JamBase
"Even when this Charlottesville band employs ancient Appalachian motifs, they never pretend to be something theyre not." - Geoffrey Himes (writing in the Oxford American 2007 Southern Music issue)