Photo by  Tony Favarula

Formed in the Spring of 2012, Chicago’s Woodrow Hart & the Haymaker bring 78-rpm into the modern age. With simple instrumentation—guitar and resonator, fiddle, trumpet, piano, upright bass, and trap kit—the self-proclaimed “dirty old-time band” and its five multi-instrumentalists craft an honest, rowdy sound that is at once both old and new. A unique mélange of pre-electric country, blues and folk, with hints of early jazz and imbued with the spirit of Chicago punk rock, the band reinvents American musical tradition while holding fast to the integrity of each genre and its artists to create a sound that is distinctly genuine, distinctly Southern, distinctly restless, and all its own.


 

In just a few short years, Woodrow Hart & the Haymaker have gone from relative obscurity to playing Chicago’s premier venues. From Schubas, The (defunct) Double Door and numerous street fests to The Hideout, The Beat Kitchen and The Empty Bottle, the band takes their lean-but-lush arrangement to stages of all shapes and sizes, and with them an air of New Orleans, Memphis, Nashville, and Chicago. With each performance, Woodrow Hart & the Haymaker’s spirited, trans-era sets show that, while the music that inspires them might be traditional, this band is not.