- Rocky Mount, VA
For the past 20 years, Hackensaw Boys have been a hard-touring force of nature in the American roots music world, bringing a punk ferocity to their stringband base and a powerful sensitivity to their ballad roots. Operating more as a collective than a band, Hackensaw Boys were around before the O Brother craze kickstarted Americana, back in the old alt-country days. With all this history, it shook up bandleader and lead singer David Sickmen when long-time band member Ferd Moyse let him know that he was leaving the band in 2018. Sickmen’s a man who survived throat surgery to save his voice and endured any number of hardships over two decades on the road, but nothing hits harder than a crisis of faith for a man who’s used his own indomitable will to push past every obstacle. “I realized as a 50-year-old man,” Sickmen says, “I’m too far gone to stop. I’ve waited too long to have another career. I did a lot of soul searching, trying to figure out what Hackensaw Boys even is at this point with all the people that have come and gone through it.” Sickmen realized Hackensaw Boys was more of an ethos, a mission statement to raise a little hell, encourage a more peaceful world, and bring the music back to its roots in a working-class American vernacular.
Sickmen formed up a brand-new band – Beau Dodson (“charismo,” percussion), Chris Stevens (bass), Caleb Powers (fiddle, banjo, mandolin, vocals) – drawing from no shortage of talent in the group’s pool of musical friends and compatriots. Keeping their roots close to home in Lynchburg, VA, Hackensaw Boys have a new EP, A Fireproof House of Sunshine, coming out on June 21, 2019 with their label Free Dirt Records. The EP’s title nods to Sickmen’s fiery new purpose, and his wish to build something that endures. “I always thought that our story was about all the people that have come and gone from the band,” Sickmen says, “but I think now the story’s more about a band that just wants to keep developing. It’s not about the past 20 years we put in, it’s more about the next 20 years we want to put in.”
Retreating to the Charlottesville studio of co-producer Rob Evans (Dave Matthews Band), Hackensaw Boys cut the new EP in just four days. These five new songs showcase the band’s graceful maturation and feel more timeless than timely, in no small part due to Sickmen's most deeply cultivated songwriting to date. A Fireproof House of Sunshine keeps the band’s classic punk-fueled roots sound at the center. Yet, here the group further explores within genre, from the rollicking contemporary Americana of "Late Night Kitchen" and "Pass Unloving Eyes" to the country-blues labor anthem "Factory Blues,” or the loving “Let’s Take Us a Night Ride,” written together with Sickmen’s young son.
“Whatever was the Hackensaw Boys?” Sickmen asks. “We weren’t really a punk or old-time or bluegrass or folk band, we were this thing that slammed all those styles into one.” With this renewed outlook and a burning desire to continue winding down the road doing what they love, Hackensaw Boys won’t be idling for long.
Roots stalwarts Hackensaw Boys stop in Rocky Mount to play Harvester Performance Center on Dec 14
Hackensaw Boys will make a stop at Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount, VA on Dec 14. In their 20th 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 their take on Blaze Foley's "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. —Hackensaw Boys
Dec 14 - Rocky Mount, VA @ Harvester Performance Center
Dec 15 - Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry
Dec 29 - Washington, DC @ Gypsy Sally's
Dec 30 - Thomas WV @ The Purple Fiddle
Dec 31 - Winchester, VA @ Bright Box
|Event Notes:||Landing pad stage|
|Ticket URL:||Click here|
|Venue Link:||Click here|
|Venue City, State:||Rocky Mount, VA|
|Venue St. Address:||450 Franklin St.|
|Venue:||Harvester Performance Center|
|Concert Start Time:||8pm|