“I’m getting over an unusually rowdy night at Hank’s last night,” the frontman for country band Sean Kershaw and The New Jack Ramblers told GO Brooklyn. Kershaw and his crew have been playing a weekly gig at Hank’s — the Atlantic Avenue dive bar with flames painted on its walls — since 2001, and while he’s had plenty of wild nights there, as the band’s last weekly gig nears, each Sunday evening has been like a going away party.
“I’ve been there since 2001,” said Kershaw, a Fort Greene resident. “My old band, The Blind Pharaohs, was the first band to ever play at Hank’s — when it was called the Doray Tavern — and it was a place where the neighborhood was so bad, they had to buzz you in.”
Times have changed, though, and as country music is no longer an anomaly in Brooklyn, Kershaw and his band are looking to branch out.
“It’s been a big part of my life, of the band’s life, and we’ve made a lot of friends,” he said, “but at the same time, it’s become a bit of a crutch and has tied us very much to one location.”
So while the Ramblers will still make monthly appearances at the bar, the weekly show — the longest-running country music residency in the borough, according to Kershaw — will be no more after June 1.
Next month, the band will head to North Carolina to record an album, and after returning, will set out to make country fans of people beyond their Boerum Hill stomping grounds.
“We need to start playing in other neighborhoods — we’ve played in every borough except Staten Island — but we want to make a bigger presence in New York,” said Kershaw. “But we’re going to maintain a toehold at Hank’s.”
Sean Kershaw and The New Jack Ramblers will play its last weekly show on June 1 at 9:30 pm at Hank’s Saloon (45 Third Ave. at Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill). Free. For information, call (718) 625-8003 or visit www.hankssaloon.com.