Being in a band is not the model of longevity. Bands generally come and go more quickly than anyone can notice. As a result, it’s hard not to be impressed when a band makes music for 20 years. Believe it or not, Hackensaw Boys is a band that has been together for 20 years. On the new EP Fireproof House of Sunshine (Free Dirt Records) the band shows that it is going as strong as it ever has.
When you hear the beginning of “Late Night Kitchen”, something is immediately familiar. The fiddle is reminiscent of Old Crow Medicine Show. Meanwhile the melody and the lyrics bring to mind a Bruce Springsteen solo album. The lyrics to close the song are particularly poignant: “Try and remember you’re only human. We need each other so bad.”
“Pass Unloving Eyes” has a lot of elements of bluegrass between the mandolin, fiddle and the harmony vocals. Something in the melody brings early Bob Dylan to mind. You can’t help but pay attention to the lyrics “Get on past the dying and get on with the living” mostly because it sounds so much like the message of Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption.
If you’re a music fan who pays attention to lyrics, “Factory Blues” is probably a song that will resonate with you. The story is that a man comes to town and promises a factory where “if we wanna, we can work day and night.” Everyone in the town is predictably excited until they’re all “dying of the factory blues.” Ultimately the factory that excited the town is closed and moved to another town. It’s a tragically true tale.
This EP is a good mix of bluegrass and blues. The blues aspect isn’t prominent, but you can definitely hear it in the resonator in the last two songs. While it is good to have new music from Hackensaw Boys, it does leave you wanting more since it is only five songs. Still, those five songs are enjoyable and a good testament to the longevity of this band. Fireproof House of Sunshine was released on June 21 and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.