Sure, the Defibulators spell their name wrong and look like art-damaged hipsters, but who cares? The Brooklyn combo’s rugged string-band music is so charged-up, it’ll get your heart beating again no matter how they spell the cardiac device they named themselves for.

As for the hipster vibe, the Defibs even make fun of themselves. “Everybody’s got a banjo,” they sing on their latest album, Debt’ll Get ’Em. “If you don’t know how to play it, well it still looks cool.”

On stage in small clubs, the Defibulators are all grungy punk twang, but during their recent visit to Acoustic Guitar Sessions, Bug Jennings (on acoustic guitar and vocals), singer Erin Bru, lead guitarist Chris “Roadblock” Hartway, and fiddler Bobby Hawk kept it simple and sweet. Jennings, who was born and raised in Texas, said it took moving to the decidedly non-bluegrass town of Brooklyn, New York, for him to appreciate the old-time country and bluegrass he grew up around.


“I was just more into rock and punk and stuff,” Jennings said during the session. “It wasn’t until I moved to New York City that I started digging deep into classic country.”

Check out what else the Defibs had to say and watch them perform a pair of tunes from Debt’ll Get ‘Em: “Get Yer Papers” and “Real Slow.”

And don’t try to tell ’em how to spell defibrillator. They won’t listen.

For more Acoustic Guitar Sessions, check out the archive.

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