The Squirrel Nut Zippers are a band formed in 1993 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by James "Jimbo" Mathus (vocals and guitar), Katharine Whalen (vocals, banjo, and ukulele), Chris Phillips on drums, Don Raleigh on bass and sideman Ken Mosher.
While the band's eclectic fusion of Delta blues, gypsy jazz, 1930s-era swing, klezmer, and other styles makes them hard to categorize, their unique music found a niche in the late 1990's, when the band met with national recognition and commercial success, sometimes associated with the Swing Revival of the same period.
After a hiatus of several years, the original band members reunited and took to the stage again in 2007, playing select dates around the United States through 2008.
They played the last night of The Voodoo Experience held at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana over Halloween weekend 2009.
Taking their name from a vintage brand of caramel candy, Squirrel Nut Zippers were formed in 1993 by then-married singer/multi-instrumentalists James Mathus and Katharine Whalen. Based in North Carolina, the retro-minded ensemble, which also prominently featured Tom Maxwell on vocals and various instruments, built a devoted fan base with their eclectic “hot jazz”-influenced sound. In ‘97, the macabre single “Hell” (penned by Maxwell) became a surprise hit for the Zippers, resulting in sudden success. Not long after the departure of Maxwell in ’99, the group, which also briefly included renowned singer-songwriter Andrew Bird, called it a day, but they reformed (sans Maxwell or Bird) for a tour in 2007. ~ Rovi