As New Orleans-based vocalist/guitarist Jon Hatchett noted, “country music” can be hard to define in an era when so much of it takes shape in the city. Nevertheless, his term “spiderbilly” is a pretty good way to encapsulate the rollicking, punk-infused version of Americana that’s put his band in the thick of a thriving local country scene. Their honky tonk tunes about women and whiskey are rooted in classic country and the timeless tradition of Texas songwriters they take inspiration from, but they ratchet things up a notch with influences as diverse as punk rock, blues, and Balkan music. The result is dark but fun, “ a bit creepy-crawly”, and–set to a decidedly New Orleans R&B beat–always danceable.
Hatchett originally hails from Massachusetts, where he was raised by musical parents and grew up surrounded by a variety of musical influences. He was a bicycle messenger and played in rock and roll bands bands around the Boston area for years before hitting the road with an acoustic guitar and a eclectic repertoire of tunes, busking his way around the country. After a few years on the road and living in various places, he finally hung his hat in New Orleans in 2009 and jumped into the local scene with both feet, playing with various bands including Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Miss Martha, the Wasted Lives, and the Leveetoppers. He also started writing his own music again after a ten-year hiatus.
The Jon Hatchett Band got together for the first time in 2014 to play at a Gal Holiday record release party at the Rock n Bowl in New Orleans. It turned out to be an immensely successful first gig, and it didn’t take long for the band to to build up an avid following of young country/swing/rockabilly aficionados who love to dance and drink. The band’s Monday night show at the St. Roch Tavern packs the house every week, and they’ve become familiar faces at various other gigs around town, such as the popular Country Night held at Mags on Tuesdays.
The band’s local dive bar notoriety exists hand in hand with a wider-reaching appeal, and they spend part of every year touring the North- and Southeast, the Gulf Coast and the Midwest and performing for fans far and wide. They released their first and eponymous album last year. OffBeat Magazine says: It’s clear that Hatchett knows how to write ’em; honky-tonk stompers are his specialty, but he’s versatile enough to pull off a few character songs, a broken-hearted rocker (“The Wind and Me”) and a more existential lyric (Livin day to day). The vinyl version was released May 11th, 2016 when the band will also released their music video for the song “Devil Was Me” directed by Alison J. Forest.. A second album is in the works and slated to be recorded at Joel Savoy’s studio in Eunice, LA.