“Brooklyn’s kings of alt-country; just minus the ‘alt.'” -VICE

“Rowdy, punk-fueled twang highlighted by heaps of blue-collar wit”

“The perfect soundtrack for a family picnic, or a meth lab.”


CBGB’s meet the Grand Ole Opry. Hailing form New York, the six-man, one-woman band blends bluegrass, country, rockabilly, and a sucker punch of punk for a rubber-meets-the-road roots sound. Many of their songs tow a thin line between serious and satire. But don’t let irreverence fool you. These accomplished musicians create artistic arrangements, heartworn harmonies, and a virtuosic chicken-pickin’ guitar that belies their geographic origin. 

Described as everything from “Hee-Haw on mescaline” to “Carter Family-meets-Ramones”, The Defibulators unique brand of country has made them pioneers in the Brooklyn country music scene. The band’s last last album Debt’ll Get’em is a striking, au courant take on classic country, channeling the frenetic energy of their legendary live shows into tight, punchy hooks and foot-stomping sing-alongs.

From “Pay For That Money,” a pedal steel and fiddle lament about credit card debt, to “Let Me See That Ponytail Run,” a dreamy ode to beauty just out of reach, the album compellingly combines vintage forms and textures with contemporary songwriting and razor-sharp wit. “Everybody’s Got a Banjo” is a biting, swamp funk-inspired nod to the instrument’s recent ubiquity (“If you don’t know how to play it, well it still looks cool”), and “Cackalacky” is the tongue-in-cheek story of an Appalachian musician who moves to New York City to make it big in roots music.

The band’s infectious energy and originality earned them a nod as one of Brooklyn’s best emerging bands in VICE Magazine, and a devoted following in a city not known for its love of country.  Their debut album Corn Money garnered immediate critical notice from Buzzfeed toCMT, with New York Magazine raving that “[Bug] and singer Erin Bru slip into harmonies that recall the storied Gram Parsons-Emmylou Harris duets,” Under the Radar hailed it as “a boozy concoction worth swigging until last call,” and PopMatters describing it as “a drunken square dance on speed.”

Call it what you will, Americana, indie honky-tonk, truckerpunk, or Brooklyn Country, the proof is in the listening. There is a unique familiarity that percolates throughout Debt’ll Get ‘Em. The reverence for traditional country forms combined with an irreverent rock and roll attitude is a trademark of the Defibs sound. Gear-grinding twang and sawing fiddles saturate songs rooted in the debt-laden and downtrodden, the moods swinging between satirical and sentimental, with unpredictable outbursts into total country chaos.

When not on the road together, The Defibulators reside in individual, non-mobile homes in Hoboken, Harlem, and Brooklyn.

The Defibulators’ Songbook has been published by Mel Bay Publications.

The Defibs are:

Erin Bru – Vocals, Triangle
Bug Jennings – Vocals, Banjo, Acoustic Guitar
Chris “Roadblock” Hartway – Lead Guitar
Mike Riddleberger, Brian Kantor – Drums
Michael “Metalbelly” Ginsberg – Washboards, Harmonica, Percussion
Justin “The Giant Fiddler” Smith, Bobby Hawk –  Fiddle
David Dawda, Ian Riggs, Dave Speranza  – Upright & Electric Bass

Extended Family: Grant Zubritzky, Spencer Zahn (Bass), John Foti (Accordion), Dave Melton (Piano)

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