Packway Handle Band

Packway Handle Band

 Athens, Georgia, USA

"This is how I like my bluegrass served up – dark and passionate, with a side of blood." Sarah Hagerman 3/20/10 SxSW review


It all started in Athens, Georgia in 2001 during a most peculiar
spell when 5 or 6 bluegrass bands circulated the town. The famous Athens, which had once spawned the B-52s, REM, Widespread Panic, and countless other indie, pop and punk acts, was now the home to a competing minority of bluegrass players. The Packway Handle Band emerged from this small scene, finding national acclaim first as finalists at the Telluride bluegrass competition in 2002 and 2003, then taking 2nd place in 2004. The band’s 2003 debut album, “Chaff Harvest” was produced using prize awards from a local Battle of the
Bands when they beat out 72 other rock bands for first place.
PHB was on a roll and has continued to win over fans and rack
up awards. In early 2006 the band went on the road full time, wowing audiences across the country with close 4-part harmonies and their dance around two tightly-spaced condenser mics. Packway Handle Band has emerged at the national forefront of bands that use a gather-around-the-mic style. Theirs is not a mission to preserve historical styles-- it's just how they do what they do the best. And what they do best is rooted in thought provoking songwriting, clever choice and arrangement of bluegrass traditionals, and totally unexpected (even totally inappropriate) covers, all delivered with a crackling energy. If you get an idea of what Packway Handle is early in a show, you’ll probably change your mind several times before they’re done.
The band now plays upward of 200 shows a year in the
United States and in 2008 Packway embarked on an overseas tour to play the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland as well as a string of other dates throughout the UK, Belgium, Holland, and France. It's obvious their enthusiasm and sense of humor are honest, and that what they do appeals to broad audiences, even those who don't normally listen to bluegrass. You're not going to say you've heard this band before, unless you actually have. Since 2003 the band has released four full length albums and one live EP, the most recent album entitled, "What Are We Gonna Do Now?", was released in February 2010.

2002-2008 consecutive Reader's Choice Flagpole Bluegrass
band/Americana band of the year awards
2002 4th place Telluride Folk & Bluegrass Festival band competition
2003 3rd place Telluride Folk & Bluegrass Festival band competition
2003 Winner Miller Light Battle of the Bands-- Athens, GA
2004 2nd place Telluride Folk & Bluegrass Festival band competition
2009 2nd place Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival band competition
2009 Winner Podunk Bluegrass Festival band competition

Here's a sampling of the press:

"This is how I like my bluegrass served up – dark and passionate, with a side of blood." Sarah Hagerman 3/20/10 SxSW review

"One thing is obvious to all: The Packway Handle Band is not your father’s bluegrass band.” -Bluegrass Now Magazine

"The Packway Handle Band mixes dark themes and old-time religion with a uniquely modern folk aesthetic that pins down just what American music is all about." – Splice Today

"Packway Handle's strength is in its cohesiveness. Vocal Harmonies and string syncopations lock together like Legos.…" – Aspen Daily News

“Where can we go in our labeling of bands when bluegrass isn't quite right and neither is the passé term ‘newgrass’?…Call it ‘ubergrass.’"– Idaho Mountain Express

"If you like Chatham County Line and/or The Avett Brothers, then you should catch this perpetually touring five-piece for a trad-absurdist experience delivered from exceptionally seasoned youths." – Flagpole Magazine


"What Are We Gonna Do Now?" - 2010
"Packway Handle Band" - 2008
"Live in 2006 EP Extreme" - 2007
"(Sinner) You Better Get Ready" - 2005
"Chaff Harvest" - 2004

Set List

We play 1-3 set shows, sets lasting 45 minutes to 2 hours. We play our extensive original material, bluegrass traditionals, gospel, and some strange ones....The Cars, Talking Heads, Violent Femmes, Stevie Wonder, INXS.