Thanks to upwardly mobile folks like Ryan Adams and the Dixie Chicks, Americana over the last decade has slowly been turned into flaccid adult contemporary with a wee bit twang. Thats why the Hackensaw Boys are so damn vital. Along with Chatham County Line and the Black Twig Pickers, the Virginia outfit injects Appalachian string band music with a healthy dose of rock-and-rock primitivism. Yet they dont forsake Blue Ridge-bred tradition for mainstream pop or cheap novelty à la the Avett Brothers. In fact, the Boys sing of hoboing from firsthand experience. Sure, theyve opened for the Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse, but theyre more at home when wandering the country, busking on street corners from Asheville to Portland. With Drew Emmitt. JUSTIN F. FARRAR
Listen to a sample of Hackensaw Boys' "Whiskey Momma."
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