David Sickmen and Ferd Moyse are the Hall & Oates of the Hackensaw Boys Appalachia-soaked bluegrassy, punk soul blues, penning songs both anecdotal and full-fledged snake oil salesman tall tales all in one handsome ten song offering. A curmudgeon’s Old Crow Medicine Show, or simply a kick ass band, embodying a slew of influences but it’s the simplistic that permeate, as if they pull from the underlying footings of all the above nuances from a rusty ammo crate, add locomotive fiddle as a special sauce, tasteful banjo offered as it should be by Jimmy Stelling, and the backbone of Thomas Oliver’s upright bass and mando chops, backed by Brian Gorby’s minimalist percussion and ‘charismo’ mastery –- the hobo musician’s homemade drum kit/flak jacket, complete with soup cans, a washboard, and whatever else your charisma might can dream up that’s easily held fast in one way or another–also serving as the album’s namesake and front cover art.
I saw Larry Campbell play as one of Phil Lesh’s friends back in 2005 and have been mesmerized by not only his musicianship but penchant for the producer chair as well. He captured this one in Levon’s barn not too far from Big Pink in upstate New York. Prodigious ditties are abounding on Charismo, exploding with life lessons, songs of failure and triumph, hardships and friendships, love and love lost. “Happy For Us” and it’s chugging fiddle fills is a pure love song, dusty and lusty. “The Sweet” and “Wolves Howling” each highlights in their own right, back to back in running order and emotion espousing –the former earning a lesson in the ‘grass is always greener’, the latter questioning luck and lack thereof by way of superstition. Campbell’s captaining has assuredly steered the Boys into a fine early spring effort, hands down an immediate addition to your soundtrack of green things growing and allergy pill popping. Happily coming to us from Free Dirt Records on April 15th!
(words by scott zuppardo || @ssktda)