Originally started by former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, A Hawk and a Hacksaw released its self-titled debut, on which Barnes played all the instruments and which explored 20th century American music, in 2004 on Leaf Records.
The next year, after enlisting help from tuba player Mark Weaver, trumpeter Dan Clucas, and violinist Heather Trost, Barnes and the band issued Darkness at Noon, which was recorded in the U.K. and in Barnes' native Albuquerque, New Mexico, and delved into both Eastern European and American folk music. Ever the traveler, Barnes went to Romania for the group's (which was by this time just him and Trost) third album, where he recorded songs for it with the Gypsy brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia. The Way the Wind Blows, which continued A Hawk and a Hacksaw's tradition of mainly instrumental fare, was then released in 2006. That same year, Trost and Barnes moved to Budapest, Hungary, where they fully immersed themselves in the Eastern European musical tradition by playing and recording with the local Hun Hangár Ensemble, resulting in 2007's critically acclaimed EP A Hawk and a Hacksaw & the Hun Hangar Ensemble and its 2009 sibling, Deliverance. The Spanish and Mexican-influenced Cervantine, the group's fifth album and first release on its own imprint, L.M. Dupli-Cation, arrived in March 2011. Released in 2013, the sprawling You Have Already Gone to the Other World featured original music composed for Sergei Parajanov's 1964 feature film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. ~ Marisa Brown, Rovi