"As local 'freak-folk' expands into something like a movement, distinctions become more important. Where trained traditionalists the Roe Family Singers can actually sing, and do so, the Blackthorns moan and scream, putting them on the punk side of the neo-folkie spectrum. Yet they also make spookily atmospheric instrumentals on fiddle and accordion, adding messy drums that nearly groove. The band's eponymous debut on Cinema Revolution Records sounds a little like a beat-music version of the soundtrack on HBO's gangsta western 'Deadwood', and is well worth picking up."
"Armed with classical string instruments, a hard rock rhythm section, banjos and accordions, The Blackthorns have one of the darkest, most original sounds of any local band...They were the perfect sendoff after an evening of chaotic entertainment."
--The Wake Magazine
"The band's voice might as well be a horn of some kind, as indistinguishable lyrics allow poignant howls to flow the melodious current."
--High Plains Reader
"If I had to listen to this all day, I'd commit suicide."
--Anonymous; Fargo, ND
Converging in Minneapolis from parts as far away as Denver, New Orleans, and rural South Dakota, the Blackthorns met through their involvement in various punk, thrash, and no-wave projects, but were brought together by their common interest in the darker sounds of traditional American folk and country music. The band collectively writes songs with a core lineup of viola, cello, banjo, bass, drums, and vocals, sometimes swapping instruments and incorporating autoharp, accordion, saw, guitar, harmonica, and industrial-style found-object percussion.
With these traditional tools, the Blackthorns play the sort of folk songs you'd expect to hear rising from the screen porch after a bomb has been dropped on a decaying Midwestern town.
Since parting ways in 2007, former Blackthorns are now active in Poor Weather Club, Dark Dark Dark, Brute Heart, and The Chickadee Mountain Martyrs.