Album Reviews

Hackensaw Boys


Artist:     Hackensaw Boys

Album:     Charismo

Label:     Freedirt Records

Release Date:     04/15/2016


Banjos, banjos, banjos: you either love ’em or hate ’em, I guess. Luckily, for me at least, I fall into the former camp for the most part, which is just as well here with this wonderful eleven track release from these masters of modern bluegrass-cum-Americana-cum-blues-cum-neo-punk. This is an album that simply cannot be ignored. It’s definitely not one for a quiet night with soothing background sounds.

Charismo is an offering that kicks ass big-time. From the very beginning, it rasps along with top-dollar musicianship, not only on banjo, but on each individual instruments aided and abetted by front man guitarist and songwriter David Sickman on grit-strewn, gravel vocals.

Produced by Grammy winner Larry Campbell – Levon Helm, Dylan, Steep Canyon Rangers, etc. – Charismo crosses music boundaries, flirting joyously with hints of Delta-inspired blues, Appalachian bluegrass and good old fashioned string band music, creating layers of multi-influenced sound that reflects the diversity of the band’s lives, loves and interests. This is get up and dance late-at-night music grounded in roots traditions but always with a contemporary edge and bias.

After almost twenty years on the road, working the clubs and bars and festivals of the USA the Hackensaw Boys sure know how and when to party hard. Charismo is an excellent album. Oh, and one more thing, don’t be put off by the thought of banjos, they’re an important, essential part of the magical mojo mix here.

– Iain Patience

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