In a musical age dominated by cities and cityscapes, it can be difficult to define “country music” in a meaningful way. In response, New Orleans-based guitarist and singer Jon Hatchett hatched his own term: “spiderbilly,” a rollicking, punk-infused strain of Americana that’s put his band in the thick of a thriving local scene of punks, street performers, and vintage jazz heads. Rooted in the timeless traditions of classic country and Texas songwriters, Hatchett’s honky tonk tunes about women and whiskey are woven with influences as diverse as punk rock, blues, and Balkan music. “I like the idea of mashing together creepy minor-key instrumental parts with hard-hitting 3-chord country songs,” Hatchett explains. The result is the darkly fun, “creepy-crawly”, and danceable sound of Jon Hatchett Band’s newest album, Mother Nature Wins Again.
Hailing from Massachusetts, Hatchett was raised by musical parents and grew up surrounded by a variety of musical influences. While working as a bicycle messenger, Hatchett 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. He found a home in country music, shifting his focus from the punk and rock he’d been playing before. “I’d been listening to bluegrass and country since I was a kid, and when I started traveling it was a lot more practical. I didn’t have to carry around a huge amp and electric guitar. I like playing music with other people too. It was really appealing to have a whole back catalogue of songs that everyone knows, so you could roll into a show and put together a new band.” In 2009, after a few years on the road, Hatchett finally hung his hat in New Orleans and jumped into the roots music scene. He soon began playing with various bands including Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Miss Martha, the Wasted Lives, and the Leveetoppers. After a decade-long songwriting hiatus, Hatchett formed The Jon Hatchett Band in 2014 and they released their self-titled debut in 2016.