Hackensaw Boys

  • Roanoke, VA
  • 05/19/2018
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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 19 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. 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.

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Jonathan Een Newton
Press Contact
Devon Léger

Roots group Hackensaw Boys to stop at Night Rider's Ball on May 19

Hackensaw Boys will make a special stop at Night Rider's Ball​ in Roanoke, VA on May 19. In their 18th year as a band, Hackensaw Boys still deliver the spirited, rowdy live show that's come to be expected, performing both old favorites and new tunes like single "Oval Room" out on Free Dirt Records.

On the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, roots music stalwarts Hackensaw Boys speak to America's political unrest in their new single "Oval Room."   Written and recorded by Blaze Foley in the 1980s, the song recalls his list of grievances with the Reagan presidency: "Everywhere he goes, make the people mad / Makes the poor man beg, and the rich man glad." The band was excited to resurrect this protest gem—which was recorded by their friend Thomas Olivier at Studio Americain in Amsterdam—as the words seem more timely than ever. Hear the story in their own words:


Ferd showed us "Oval Room" while we were on tour in Europe and the lyrics were spot on with how some of us were feeling about the negative political climate in our country, and, for that matter, around the world. We immediately knew we wanted to record our interpretation of this timeless song. It’s worth noting that Blaze Foley had Ronald Reagan in mind when he wrote this song in the early eighties, yet we feel the words fit just as well with Trump and other dangerous heads of state around the globe. It’s ironic that Blaze’s melody feels fun and light-hearted. One can’t help but sing along happily to his words—words that, in truth, are so dark and shamefully still relevant today.

The photograph used on the cover was taken by Jason Lappa, an amazing photographer from our hometown of Charlottesville, VA. Jason captured this image on Trump's inauguration day in DC.  Dangerous leadership can create an extremely polarized divide amongst citizens—a divide designed to tear people apart and thus give more power to the state. When a country's leadership doesn't take care of the needs of the majority of its people, undermines our health and well-being, and fills the public forum with hate, violence can erupt. We're at the brink in America, and this image really gets to the heart of that. —Hackensaw Boys

Upcoming Dates
May 19 - Roanoke, VA @ Night Rider's Ball
May 31 - San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
June 3 - Felton, CA @ Red Mountain Faire


Dispatch Details

Event Notes: 21+
Ticket URL: Click here
Venue Zip: 24011
Venue City, State: Roanoke, VA
Venue St. Address: 413 1st St. SW
Venue: Martin's Downtown
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