Largely responsible for helping launch the swing revival of the 90’s with their beloved platinum-selling classic Hot, the Squirrel Nut Zippers still bring that same infectious hybrid of supercharged gypsy swing and New Orleans jazz to their newest release, Beasts of Burgundy.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers began their musical journey in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in the mid 1990’s, as a musician’s escape from the cookie cutter world of modern rock radio at the time. Jimbo Mathus along with drummer/percussionist Chris Phillips formed the band as a casual musical foray among friends and family in the area. It wasn’t long before the band’s quirky mix of jazz chords, folk music, and punk rock leanings spread out of the region and attracted a national audience.
Between 1995 and 2000 the Squirrel Nut Zippers sold over three million albums. Their watershed album, Hot (1996) was recorded in the heat of New Orleans, fueled by a smoldering mix of booze and a youthful hunger to unlock the secrets of old world jazz. This passion, mixed with klezmer, blues, Americana and random bits of contemporary music, became the bands signature style. At the time, there were few other bands inhabiting this space. The album would eventually break free of any “jazz” stereotypes and land on commercial radio, taking the band to remarkable heights for what was essentially an anti-establishment sound.
Years later and through chronicles of every kind, the band has emerged from a lengthy recording hiatus, reinvigorated, reinvested, and rejuvenated. “It’s not a reunion, it’s a revival” has been the battle cry for Mathus since reforming the group in 2016. With an all-star cast of New Orleans musicians, the band breathed new life in to the old material, and inspired Mathus to return to the studio to reignite the band’s unique, enigmatic sound. The result, is the first Squirrel Nut Zippers studio album in eighteen years, a supreme return to form titled Beasts of Burgundy.