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Friday, April 18, 2014

These Boys are back in town

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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2007 2:03 am | Updated: 5:58 pm, Thu Jan 24, 2013.

The Hackensaw Boys - Charlottesville's hometown crew of rowdy string bandits - will make their first local appearance in town since the fall on Saturday night at Starr Hill Music Hall.

As always, the band has been touring across the country like a pack of mad dogs, delivering the old-time, front-porch sounds of the Blue Ridge Mountains through a filter of punk angst.

But in between the road miles, the musicians also recently retreated to the studio to record the follow-up to their 2005 Nettwerk Records debut, "Love What You Do." The sessions took place in Richmond at the Sound of Music, the studio of Cracker frontman David Lowery.

"We did a two-week tour, and then came back and immediately went into the studio and hammered through some new stuff," says Hackensaw bassist Jesse Fisk. "We finally dialed in a recording process that captures our sound in a good way. The last record was done over a couple of years in four studios, but this one was done in one session, so it's got some uniformity."

The album, called "Look Out," will mostly be the raucous collective string blazing that the Hackensaws are known for in the live setting, a departure from the interspersed ballad contrast of the last effort. It hits stores on June 19.

"This is a snappy, up-tempo record," Fisk said. "We were trying to make more of a party record than a make-out record."

The difference might have something to do with a lineup change since the last effort. The band now features Fisk on bass, Jimmy Stelling on banjo, Rob Bullington on mandolin, Justin Neuhard, fiddler Ferd Moyse and lead singer Ward Harrison, who has filled the shoes of longtime de facto front man David Sickmen, who stopped touring with the band in 2006 in favor of locally focusing on his solo career. (Ironically, he also plays in town on Saturday night at the Gravity Lounge).

"It shows on this coming record that this band has become a consistent thing," Fisk said.

"We've had our bumps and hiccups along the way, but we never slow down. We're still thankful to make a job out of it."

The show on Saturday will be supported by Jim Waive and the Young Divorcees, a band that features former Hackensaw member Charlie Bell. As a result, Fisk says, the show should generate some "general jamboree-style fun."

At the end of April the band will head back across the pond to Europe for the sixth time for a string of shows in the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway.

"Americana does really well over there," Fisk concludes. "The club scene is a little better, as far as a goodtime vibe."

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