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Published: 2005/09/08
by Katie Mavrich

Love What You Do – The Hackensaw Boys

Nettwerk America 0 6700 30430 2 1

Cheap Trick, Modest Mouse, De La Soul, and The Flaming Lips. Bonnaroo, Telluride, and The High Sierra Music Festival. These musicians and festivals all have one thing in common: The Hackensaw Boys. Hailing out of Charlottesville, Va., the sextet plays a mix of new-school bluegrass and country, with a bit of the indie-rock sound thrown in for good mix.

While it’s comforting to see the boundaries that define musical genres blur and almost fade away, allowing a trans-pollination of new sounds, it’s a bit disappointing to hear something marketed as “The Carter Family meets the Ramones” have absolutely no truth to the statement. The Carter Family, yes. The Ramones, hell no.

To be fair, the band’s latest album, Love What You Do, was recorded over a two-year and four-studio span. Their sound was constantly evolving and it’s evident on the recording. “Cannonball” sounds like an old-school campfire sing along song, while “All Good Dogs” evokes the singer-songwriter feel of a country-inspired Neil Young. And at the same time, “Mecklenburg County” is a tune that will get audiences up and dancing in no time at all. This is exactly what keeps one listening to Love What You Do interesting. If each song sounded like the last — something that can definitely happen with this style of music — then The Hackensaw Boys would be in trouble.

No Ramones influences here, nothing that even sounds remotely like it was inspired by punk rock is on this disc. But, the indie-rock sounds are: “Buildings Are the Cages” is melancholy and dark, a la Wilco.

Listening to Love What You Do proves that The Hackensaw Boys indeed love what they do. Every last one of them. And as The Boys say, “If you love what you do you will be without bitterness and you will be more appealing to others.” Indeed, the fact that the band obviously has fun with the music they make and aren’t afraid to blur the boundaries, makes Love What You Do all the more appealing.

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