Because Songs Matter


Dubl Handi does everything exactly right on their debut album Up Like The Clouds.  The name is pronounced like double handy and takes its name from a washboard company dating back to the 1800’s.  Dubl Handi is a folk/traditional duo based in Brooklyn.  Banjo is the most prominent instrument but Dubl Handi uses a pile of them to recreate the mostly traditional songs on Up Like The Clouds.

Each of the 15 songs here sound fresh though all but three were written in a by gone time but what attracts me most to Dubl Handi is their willingness to let the rough edges show.  Especially with this style of music nothing drives me crazier than super polished playing and singing.  Hilary Hawke has a sensational voice that is just rough enough to keep me interested.  If you’re at all a fan of this type of music you must give Dubl Handi’s Up Like The Clouds a listen.  It is Essential Listening and great driving music on the way to an afternoon in mother nature.

PS: A possible topic of conversation for the comments.  Dubl Handi plays a very similar style to Spirit Family Reunion.  In the biographical information for both bands they only mention Brooklyn as a place of origin, yet both bands’ music is deeply rooted in the Appalachian tradition.  My thought is that both bands approach their music in an intellectual way and that somehow living in an urban environment has no influence.  Yet there are a multitude of actual southerners make ‘country’ music though they run as far away from anything rural (other than mentioning a pick-up) in their musical approach.  Feel free to discuss.

Dubl Handi - Little Orchid     

Dubl Handi - Single Girl     

Dubl Handi - Fall On My Knees     

Official Site, Dubl Handi on Facebook, Buy Up Like The Clouds


  1. Phineas Phineas
    March 19, 2013    

    I’m likin it so far! Also, speaking of awesome banjoness have yall seen/heard Phillip Roebuck? I saw him open for Devil Makes Three a few months back & he was opening, I bought his CD (Compact Disc) & it is pretttttttttttty awesome. Highly suggested listening material [Here’s a description from a review “Whirling one-man banjo ninja is in fighting form”]

    Thanks for the heads up on the Dubl Handi though (love the name/spelling/etymology by the way) – the whole Brooklyn / NY folk / roots / ____ <–{insert genre here} music thing is pretty wild to me, there's a ton of good music coming from up there, but it just seems so strange to me because I always think Appalachia/Rural/Southern like you were saying. As long as the music is good, I'm good. With it.

  2. March 19, 2013    

    O’Death is one of the best to come out of Brooklyn area.

  3. Phineas Phineas
    March 19, 2013    

    Hell Yea they’re badass – I’ll never forget seeing them at Muddy Roots like 2 years ago, I don’t think that many people there knew who they were / were into them, but I did (thanks 9B) & made sure to catch it….if any of yall ever get a chance to check’em live please please please do so….

    Random sidenote not trying to derail the review / comments, but read this article a week or two ago, it is a great description (albeit a little on the long side) on Brooklyn – the author has coined the phrase / acronym that I’m pretty fond of:

    Y.U.T. – Young Urban Tradesman – here’s a quote “Wherever you go, the faux-ethnic restaurants and the retro cocktail bars end up being full of pretty much the same (skinny, tattooed, meat-obsessed) people.”

    I know this is way off topic nut give it a read when you have some time – I think everyone’s town/city has some aspects of this going on…..

    I think there’s some music references as well so there. It’s now possibly slightly ON topic!

    Here’s a link to the full article “Regarding This “Brooklyn” Everyone Keeps Talking About – Esquire”

    • March 20, 2013    

      I read that article, or at least read as much as I could until it was too much. I’m absolutely anti nyc centric thinking (BK included) and it just read like a I really like my town, even the stupid parts, because my town, and i’ve been here a long time, is like the center of everything or at least it should be.

      rant off.

      • Phineas Phineas
        March 20, 2013    

        Yea I got that too, but don’t know much (at all) about Brooklyn so I felt like it was a pretty good summary – I don’t usually recommend articles/books to people because I feel like everybody reads them differently…..we’ve got a major re-gentrification kind of thing going on here in Durham NC and a lot of it just seemed like it was on point. To me. It’s kind of long but towards the end he’s talking about how it’s kind of come full circle & now they’re starting to get all the big national chain stores/food/etc.

        We’ve got a cool banjo playing guy here (called Curtis Eller – he’s great live, haven’t heard much of his recorded stuff) that’s actually the opposite of most of these folks in that he’s (from what I’ve read/gathered) from NYC where he started playing but now lives here in NC.

        Either way thanks for taking the time to look at it – I wish I had realized it would come off like that beforehand so I wouldn’t have posted it on here….

        • March 20, 2013    

          you totally should have posted it here. just because i didn’t really like it doesn’t mean i didn’t want to read it. i’m all for people posting things to read here.

      • Dylan Schenker Dylan Schenker
        April 1, 2013    

        I’m from Brooklyn. The whole Brooklyn-centrism thing is, in fact, annoying.

        Here’s an interesting Gothamist article that gives another perspective on the country/Brooklyn thing

  4. March 19, 2013    

    don’t worry about derailing things. i’m gonna read that article soon.

    I knew that bringing Brooklyn into the conversation might slant things but let me see if I can explain my point. When Patterson introduces the band he lists the towns and states they’re from. It’s like a point of pride even if those towns are nothing to be proud of, home is something to be proud of. But then you have these two bands, and others, with no biographical information, other than where they live now. It’s possible that all the band members were born and raised in Brooklyn and then I’ve wasted a bunch of time, but I bet they’re from other places.
    Now where a band member is from isn’t terrible important, but in the case of Dubl Handi and Spirit Family Reunion they are so clearly playing music that comes from a place, that is OF a place. You don’t learn this type of music accidentally like from listening to the radio on family vacations. And I’m curious how these bands and others came to this music. And I don’t mean to lessen their contributions or credibility, I’ve song the praises of SFR all last year. I wonder if it is a conscious deflection or something else.
    The counter example would be The Fox Hunt. They made an entire album of West Virginia music and the linear notes talk some about how they came to this style of music
    I’m very very very happy that there are people who are taking up traditional music and doing it so well and tweeking it. There’s just a lot of curiosity about who they are.

    • Phineas Phineas
      March 20, 2013    

      “There’s just a lot of curiosity about who they are.” – that kind of sums it up for me as well! I was up in Providence about 6 months ago, and they’ve got a VERY strong music scene in this genre/area..was thinking about going to the Newport Folk Festival have any of you all been to it / have any idea about it? Looks like it might be a SXSW kind of thing that’s just too big, but they sure as hell have a pretty solid lineup.

      Regardless, thanks for the new music & the solid review. Dubl solid. Actually.

      • March 20, 2013    

        i would love to go to newport. from what i’ve heard it’s very laid back, more grown folks than sxsw. it’s expensive but it sells out almost immediately and you have to buy tickets before the lineups are announced. you just have to trust that they’ll put together a killer festival.

  5. March 20, 2013    

    If they’re young musicians in Brooklyn then they almost certainly aren’t from NYC. 😉 (Hilary Hawke has a more extensive bio on her own website.)

    It’s funny that you say that…in my review of the album, I wondered aloud if there’s a “Brooklyn sound” that’s starting to develop. I feel like Dubl Handi has it.

  6. willy willy
    March 20, 2013    

    this is a very good record….on my second time through real traditional raw sound

  7. Gabriel Gabriel
    March 20, 2013    

    Dig the review, dig the music, understand entirely what you’re saying about places people are from. As time goes on and roots music entrenches itself into a new generation it can be hard to ask questions without seeming like you’re trying to offend someone.

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