zaterdag 4 oktober 2014

The Hackensaw Boys: live Ekko Utrecht. 02-10-2014

Photo, Wo.
Is The Hackensaw Boys the act with most mentions on this blog? It may well be, we haven't counted. Fact is that this isn't the first nor most likely that this is the last time they feature here. Search and you'll find the review of the two EPs the band released in 2011, live show reviews and two interviews, one with, now ex-member, Ward Harrison and one with David Sickmen. No new record yet, but another round of shows in Europe, with again a new line up. This tour celebrated the return of Jim Stelling, banjo wizzard.

To start this review, this was not the best show I saw the band play. For that there were too many hiccups with strings, wires and electricity that stopped the pace of the show. Also there were too many new songs that are not on record (yet). It is not that these songs were not good enough, they will undoubtedly make the cut easily, but, perhaps sadly, they were not what I wanted to hear, which is logical. The band has a legacy that fans bring with them also. It would have been different with a new record out as the songs could have been familiar already to real fans. Listening to the audience requests, the songs from 'The old sound of music' EPs, the band's most recent releases, featured as much as other shouts. There is hope for the new songs.

With Stelling back in the band something else returned also, some songs of Tom Peloso, sung by Stelling. Yes, the old stuff, as Peloso is out of the band for circa 9 years already. but great fun none the same. Because of this the 'Keep it simple' album, including the title song, featured distinctively this show.

David Sickmen. Photo, Wo.
Something which always astounds me, is the diversity in songwriting and styles that this (nearly) traditional bluegrass band brings forth. With the songs of Ferd Moyse the old style fiddle driven barnyard feeling is well preserved. David Sickmen can write introspective ballads and even community sing-a-longs. Ward Harrison contributed some really heartfelt songs. And there is Rob Bullington's ' Cannonball'  although that song left the repertoire with his leaving. It never fails to be called out for. It is this diversity that makes The Hackensaw Boys special and stand out more than most of its colleagues.

The well-filled Ekko showed the popularity of The Hackensaw Boys in The Netherlands. The popularity may be modest, but each and every song was celebrated and saluted with a lot of noise and applause. The crowd was really on the band's side. This is something the band works hard at to achieve. The band members reach out to the audience after every show and build relationships this way that pay off as people keep showing up.

Because of the trouble with the acoustic guitar, whether the jack plug, the wire, the jack itself, or anything in between the guitar and the monitor, couldn't get fixed, we got a second half 100% acoustic set in the front of the stage. Sometimes hard to hear, but special non the same. The request to play 'Radio' was made by cell phone banner display, while the evening ended with 'We are many' ("and you are few", as someone quipped from the audience) and a major sing-a-long.

This The Hackensaw Boys show wasn't flawless, but high in spirit and a 100% home match. If anything it showed the sort of relationship true fans have with their band. Something magical comes sometimes comes from that.


P.s. Things get strange when there's someone on stage that from a distance resembles your own son. Let's suffice to say that Joes was able to trick some of his friends with a photo stating he filled in on bass.

John/Joes. Photo: Wo.

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