Hackensaw Boys

  • Chicago, IL
  • 04/25/2017
21752 hackensaw 20boys 20cover
  • 21752 hackensaw 20boys 20cover
  • 21551 img 2862
  • 21547 img 3059
  • 22197 hackensaw 20boys 20red 20background 20color 20corrected 20final
  • 0
  • 0
  • 21543 img 3210
  • 21544 img 3206
  • 21552 img 2807
  • 21548 img 3017
  • 22085 hb 20charismo 20tour 20poster
Loading twitter feed


For touring musicians, the road is a harsh mistress. It takes an iron will to survive and a hard-headed love for music so deeply ingrained that the mere thought of a missed gig makes you nauseous. For 17 years, the Hackensaw Boys have plowed the asphalt, bringing their raw, gritty version of American roots music to the venues and streets that originally inspired them. Born in Virginia, along the same routes as fellow road warriors/street buskers Old Crow Medicine Show, the Hackensaw Boys have at times operated more as a collective than a band, sometimes boasting up to twenty members. What’s kept them together is a burning hot vision of American roots music brought kicking and screaming into a new age, fueled as much by a rowdy punk spirit as by the traditional masters that first inspired them. Now with their new album, Charismo (April 15, 2016 on Free Dirt Records)–their first studio album in almost a decade–the Hackensaw Boys have a new lineup and a new lease on life. Led by founding member, guitarist and songwriter David Sickmen, they’re back on the road with new songs, determined to get their fans back on the dancefloors they remember so well. 

Charismo was recorded in upstate New York with Grammy-award winning producer Larry Campbell (Levon Helm, Bob Dylan, Steep Canyon Rangers) who pushed the new lineup to look to their roots. Traditional Appalachian stringband tunes and Delta blues still lay the groundwork as the Hackensaw Boys inject their latest album with a heavy dose of the let-the-good-times-roll spit and vinegar the band has become known for over the years. Charismo’s songs, all written by Sickmen and longtime Hackensaw member Ferd Moyse, are tinged with an attitude of scrappy resilience, spinning tales of everyday struggles and triumphs. The instrumentation of the Hackensaw Boys still points to their origins in Appalachia, but the rough-edged fiddle (Moyse), banjo (Jimmy Stelling), mandolin/bass (Thomas Oliver) and washboard percussion (Brian Gorby) lines here likely have more in common with the band’s punk roots than they do slavish imitation of bluegrass progenitors. The Hackensaw Boys have always had more in common with bands like The Clash, who celebrated the working class roots of their own music, than they did with an overly-polished Nashville mainstream. As evidenced in the Hackensaws’ history, their music fit as easily as the backing band for Charlie Louvin as it did in backstage jams on tour with Modest Mouse or the Flaming Lips.

Charismo is the album that the Hackensaw Boys’ fans have been waiting for. The songs on this new album are fueled by the dance-all-night spirit, but point towards the kind of road-weary life experiences that have seen them through every storm the modern music industry could send their way. From a major label debut to playing massive festivals like Bonnaroo, the Hackensaw Boys have seen it all, and in the end the music has been the fuel that’s kept them going nonstop and has kept their vision of the future so bright and clear.

"The band infuses their grassy tornado with brazen punk attitude and catchy pop structure, while simultaneously remaining vehemently sincere."
"They infuse the idiom of their shared heritage with an urgent and hungry freshness, lifting their voices in tightly wound harmony, picking and singing with Pentecostal fervor."
-No Depression

+ Show More




John Smith

Hackensaw Boys and The Tillers Play Side by Side for "Spring Ramble" Tour Making a Stop in Chicago, IL on April 25


Hackensaw Boys are hitting the road again this spring along with good friends The Tillers. The bands will be making a stop in Chicago, IL on April 25 at Martyrs'.

The latest from the Hackensaw Boys is their 11-track album Charismo.  The record feels like the zenith release of the band’s 17 years, gathering their diverse life experiences and myriad of roots influences, and crystallizing them into a magnum opus on the Hackensaw way of being. Traditional Appalachian and Delta music lay the groundwork, but it’s injected with a heavy dose of the contemporary, good-times-roll kind of spit and vinegar the band has become known for over the years.

Produced by Larry Campbell--who has lent his talents to Bob DylanLevon Helm, and countless others--Charismo sees the band reeled in and slightly refined, though still as spirited as ever. The songs (all written by longtime Hackensaws David Sickmen and Ferd Moyse) are tinged with an attitude of scrappy resilience, spinning tales and metaphors of everyday, working class struggles and triumphs. With Campbell’s production, the Hackensaw’s somewhat casual, porch-front aesthetic is sharpened around the edges, focusing in on the simple beauty of their melodies and the earnestness in their delivery.

Transcendent of the parts that make up its whole, the record has a collective feel that reflects the band’s rambling history; the Hackensaws have been a home for dozens of musicians over the years, but have steadfastly endured through life’s many changes. With Charismo, the Boys don’t let down on providing their signature ever-present, feel-good energy. It’s the kind of intangible presence that reminds us of our connection to other people and to our history, to the idea that we are a part of something much larger than ourselves.

Spring Ramble Tour

April 19 || Annapolis, MD || Rams Head On Stage #
April 20 || Pittsburgh, PA || Club Cafe #
April 21 || Washington, DC || The Hamilton #
April 22 || Thomas, WV || Purple Fiddle #
April 23 || Columbus, OH || Woodlands Tavern #
April 25 || Chicago, IL || Martyrs' #
April 26 || Davenport, IA || Daytrotter #
April 27 || St. Louis, MO || Off Broadway #
April 28 || Indianapolis, IN || The Hi-Fi #
April 29 || Newport, KY || The Southgate House Revival #

# with The Tillers

Dispatch Details

Ticket URL: Click here
Ticket Price(s): $15
Venue Link: Click here
Venue Zip: 60613
Venue City, State: Chicago, IL
Venue St. Address: 3855 North Lincoln Avenue
Venue: Martyrs'
Concert Start Time: 8:00 PM
Dispatch footer