Hot Diggity is the only all female bluegrass band in New Zealand. They play original songs by Heather Carrigan (mandolin, guitar and vocals) and Deborah Mackenzie (guitar and vocals) along with plenty of bluegrass favourites. Backed up by Jenine Abarbanel (bass and vocals), Sue Drake (banjo and vocals) and Krissy Jackson (fiddle and vocals), they put out a powerful, lively sound with hot instrumentation and tight harmonies. Hot Diggity was formed in 2014, but all five members are veteran musicians having played with numerous other bands in a variety of musical styles for years.
Heather Carrigan: songwriting, vocals, mandolin
Heather comes from a musical family, and has been active in the country music scene since childhood. In her 20s she discovered bluegrass and truly fell in love. She has played with bands in Australia and the United States and now lives in Dargaville. Hot Diggity is her brainchild and she does most of the heavy lifting, musically speaking. She writes powerful songs for and about women, a rarity in the bluegrass world. At the same time, her music is fully steeped in classical bluegrass tradition and sounds like it could have been written in the golden age of bluegrass.
Deborah Mackenzie: songwriting, vocals, guitar.
Deborah has always loved to sing. Growing up in the Salvation Army gave her a great introduction to music and harmony. Previously Deborah sang in a three part harmony trio in Auckland called the Wendy Lus. In 2010 she released an album of originals, “The Ride”, with Peter Neumegen. Deborah also plays in an accoustic group called Rainberry Pie which explores many acoustic styles from alt-country, western swing, She is a singer songwriter who enjoys her guitar, but LOVES to sing. She takes pleasure in writing songs particularly about themes that resonate with other women.
Jenine Abarbanel: vocals, bass.
Living in the tiny seaside village of Leigh, Jenine came to music late, learning to play the stand-up bass in 2006 so she could jam with her bluegrass playing family. A singer since childhood, her vocals are most often compared to Natalie Merchant and Gillian Welch. What she lacks in talent and skill she makes up for with energy and chutzpah.
Sue Drake: vocals and banjo.
Sue Drake of Whangarei is a “camper from way back.” Active and athletic, she brings energy and dedication to her playing. Sue has played guitar in a number of bands for decades, in both the rock and country genres. She picked up the 5 string banjo and bluegrass music in 2012, just, as she says, to keep life interesting. And that’s what it’s all about!
Krissy Jackson: vocals and fiddle.
From New Plymouth, Krissy has been playing violin since the age of 2, and is proficient in numerous genres of music. Hot Diggity is her first bluegrass band, and she is enjoying the challenges and new techniques that entails. In 2017 Krissy released her solo debut album “Have Fiddle, Will Travel,” with tracks featuring all of her various musical partners, including “Ghost Railway” by Hot Diggity.