Think of Jon Hatchett Band as the indie antidote to bro country. The former bike messenger from Boston put in some hard time on the road before settling in New Orleans and forming his own band. His self- titled debut is a 15-track effort traditionalists can rally behind. If you want a taste of classic sound, take your pick.
There is plenty of capable lap steel and twangy Telecaster. Case in point: the Johnny Cash vibe of "Hammer Down Blues" feels like the sonic cousin of "Folsom Prison Blues." Hatchett hand-picked some choice local musicians and Matt Bell's (Royal Roses) lap steel work is a clear standout. Hatchett and sideman Izzy Zaidman (guitarist of Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue) showcase their six-string prowess sporadically and effectively, whether it is the blistering runs on "Oh No Hobo," the cover of the '40s swing number, "Ragg Mopp" or the finesse of the broken hearted "The Wind and Me."
Thematically, the album is also on point with traditional references. The drinking starts early with the up tempo opener about a woman with a four-way split personality; "Four In One Woman." The aforementioned "Hammer Down Blues" is a working man's anthem and "Rudy From Juarez" is a swinging not so subtle border tale about a Mexican smuggler. The trio of female backup singers' presence is sparse but effective. The band may be under the country umbrella, but it further sub classifies itself as "Orleans Jump Blues, Honky Tonk, Rockabilly and Western Swing." Indeed, it is as suited for a line dance at Gilley's as it is for a shot and a beer joint with an old jukebox.