Interview: The Hackensaw Boys

Hackensaw Boys Website

With their feet firmly planted in old-time song traditions, rock and roll, and country, the Hackensaw Boys deliver bluegrass with an abundance of upbeat energy.

The group has gone through an immense number of lineup changes since their conception in 1999. Their only remaining original member, guitarist David Sickmen, is joined by percussionist Brian Gorby, banjo player Jimmy Stelling and fiddler/bassist Ferd Moyse IV. Having just released their eighth full-length album in their long 17 years together, the Hackensaw Boys will perform at The Cedar August 6th with Tin Can Gin, a part of their wide-spanning US tour to promote Charismo. We spoke to Moyse about the group’s lengthy career.

Q: With so many lineup changes over the years, do you still think of yourselves as the same band?

A: Moyse: We call it the “Hackensaw Spirit,” and it’s been there from the beginning. Somehow, it survives the lineup changes. Maybe because the new folks that come in are usually somehow part of the family and story anyway. That spirit has to do with being yourself and doing your best. It has to do helping your friends/bandmates be themselves and do their best. It’s about being creative and above all, helpful and nice. Musically, the Hackensaw Spirit influences itself, so new songs always have some shred of the old–in spirit or form.

Q: Your group has always made a point to include songs written by many different members, how has this impacted your discography as a whole?

A: Moyse: Institutionalized diversity! Maybe theres something for everyone ‘cos theres something from everyone!

Q: How have you been able to keep up the momentum of constantly touring?

A: Moyse: Theres always someone out there that’ll give you a “thank you” that is so sincere, you forget about everything else. Then you look up and its been 16 years! Those “thank yous” and an outlet for creativity keep this thing on the road!

Q: Which of your past performances stands out the most?

A: Moyse: We’ve been quite fortunate to be a part of some great shows. Maybe it’s the moments that stand-out most: like a whole room being quiet enough to play completely acoustic or when a few brave listeners stand in the rain to watch a show that should have been rained-out, or when you play somewhere new and people are singing along….

Q: What’s inspiring you right now?

A: Moyse: Life. Change. Optimism. Community. Love. Adversity.