A bluegrass band with Magoffin ties is receiving industry-wide recognition, with a song at the top of the charts.
The Eastern Kentucky-rooted band, Hammertowne, may be known by some as a “local band,” however, they are making waves within the bluegrass music industry, touring all over the country, and as of November 10, the title track from their latest release “Hillbilly Heroes” is the No. 1 song in bluegrass music, as determined by Bluegrass Today’s Weekly Bluegrass Survey.
The ranking is based on reported airplay by hundreds of radio programmers around the world, meaning Hammertowne’s “Hillbilly Heroes” was the most-played bluegrass song last week.
“Hillbilly Heroes” is the third release for Hammertowne, who record for Mountain Fever Records in Willis, Virginia, one of the top record labels in the industry. Though their first two albums were well-received, their newest album has reached elite status, remaining on the bluegrass music charts for 19 consecutive weeks since it’s June 30 release, and is currently boasting the No. 1 song in bluegrass music.
Hammertowne’s members all originate from Eastern Kentucky, including Magoffin County’s own, Bryan Russell, on bass and vocals. The other members include Brent Pack, of Louisa, on banjo; Scott Tackett, of Olive Hill, on guitar and vocals; Chaston Carroll, of Irvine, on mandolin and vocals; and Dave Carroll, of Flat Gap, on guitar and vocals.
Hammertowne’s trademark is a hard-driving, high-energy show, mostly consisting of their own original songs.
Band member Dave Carroll told the Independent, “You know, it's funny how things happen sometimes. This band came to be because of a studio session that we were in for Scott's solo project back in 2012. None of us had any aspirations of forming a band, since most of us were already involved with other musical interests at the time. But it was one of those deals where you just knew that there was something different happening, both musically and personally.”
After they finished recording Tackett’s record, the now-band members agreed to help him fill some dates he had committed to.
“Things just started happening that we never expected,” Carroll remembered. “We were approached by a publishing/management agency, later a record deal was offered, and the reception that we received at those early live performances was just unbelievable. So, everyone decided that we would set out on this new musical journey to see where it would take us. The blessings we have had and the support that we have been shown is amazing.”
Mountain Fever Records President Mark Hodges said of the band, "The boys in Hammertowne are the most genuine group of artists I know. Their music comes from their heart, their songs from real life. It's been a honor to work beside them from day one. Right now, they are the hottest thing in the traditional bluegrass genre, and we couldn't be more proud of them."
Carroll said of their recent success, “From all the bluegrass music fanatics, friends, and extended family who have and continue to support us, to bluegrass and acoustic music radio programmers and disc jockeys, to Mark and Mountain Fever Records and the festival promoters who have shown confidence in us, we just can't say ‘thank you’ enough. To have the No. 1 song in bluegrass music is just incredible and we are so very grateful. We play this music because we love it. It's in our blood. We are so thankful to get to do what we love."