Album Reviews

Hackensaw Boys – Look Out!

(Nettwerk) UK release date: 17 September 2007


Sick of ridiculously hyped flurokids and fashion-obsessed scenesters and in search of genuine raw talent, undeniable passion and an incredible ear for melody? Then you need the Hackensaw Boys in your life.

Mixing elements of punk and country music in their mesmerising sound, the sevensome have been touring relentlessly around the UK, Europe and the United States since they formed on the streets of Charlottesville in Autumn 1999. Surviving numerous line-up changes, most famously the addition of sometimes-Modest Mouse-sometimes-Hackensaw, Tom Peloso, the outfit now release their second album for Nettwerk Records and it’s a truly thrilling listen from start to finish.

Bolting out of the traps with the frantic fiddle and banjo-fuelled Look Out Dog, Slow Down Train, Look Out! combines beautiful, warm bluegrass ballads such as Baltimore and Sally Ann, and attacking rhythmic stompers played at seemingly breakneck speed by a musical maelstrom of mandolins, guitars, strings, harmonicas, accordions, charismos and upright bass.

F.D.R and Gospel Plow are some of the best examples of these, not to mention the addition of some captivating vocal performances from Mahlon, The Kooky-Eyed Fox, Salvage, Baby J, Four, Spits and Pee Paw and compelling tales of heartbreak and hobos inspired by old-time mountains, backstage doorways and punishing drives through the evolving American landscape.

Word has it that the Hackensaw Boys make for devastatingly good live viewing and with this latest offering they have captured that famously visceral feel perfectly on record. Blast each incredible track from your speakers at top volume and turn your hallway into a hoedown, this act are one of Americana’s best kept secrets and they’re singlehandedly keeping the bluegrass genre alive and kicking. Don’t allow them to stay on the underground for one minute longer.


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