“With a name like The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Vancouver-based duo is some sort of concept group based on a hypothetical love story between Captain Ahab and Lizzie Borden.” (Chris Oke, Yukon News)
In reality, Shawn ‘The Harpoonist’ Hall and Matthew ‘The Axe Murderer’ Rogers evoke much more than just grisly nautical imagery. Armed with an arsenal of harmonicas, a mess of foot percussion, and a road-worn Telecaster, the duo kick out raw and primal blues in the tradition of a “decades-deep blues style” (Scott Brown, What’s up Yukon), while infusing the genre with a jolt of renewed energy.
The two met and bonded over music while recording a radio jingle. Their memorable name is inspired by a lyric from Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Bobby McGee’ that references the blues harp, (‘I took my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana’) and ‘axe’, a common term for the guitar.
Their influences range from the iconic songwriting of Willie Dixon to the boundary pushing of Jack White and Danger Mouse, but their sound is distinctly their own, smothered in greasy, gritty soul and imbued with funk. Shawn Hall provides the rousing, rugged vocals and blues harmonica, while Matthew Rogers rips on the guitar and pounds the skins with his feet. Their music is unapologetic. It slaps you in the face and makes cuts you to the core. It’s the blues played the way it was meant to be played.
The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer released their self-titled album in 2008 which was followed in 2011 by the widely acclaimed ‘Checkered Past’. Their third and latest album, ‘A Real Fine Mess’ is scheduled for release on June 17th.