Ian Craft
Jared Green
Ben Plasse


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Meet The Howlin’ Brothers, a Nashville-based band that likes to keep one foot in tradition — and use the other to kick it right out the door. On Howl, their first album for Brendan Benson’s Readymade Records label set for March 19, 2013 digital release via Dine Alone Records, they effortlessly dispel all kinds of preconceived notions — starting with the myth that Nashville means just country. We can also forget the words rock and pop, regardless of what their association with Raconteur Benson, who produced, might imply. (Although, we must note, they do rock — just not according to, um, tradition).

Though they certainly incorporate bluegrass rhythms, these Ithaca College graduates say they’re better described as Americana, where multiple hyphens are the norm and boundaries are not.

Perhaps because they veer frequently into old-time, country-blues and even Dixieland jazz territory, vocalist/upright bassist/banjo player Ben Plasse notes, “I think we’re more willing to take risks with arrangements and style. We’re not afraid to do anything we can pull off that that we think is groovy.”

And no, The Howlin’ Brothers are not siblings — nor even relatives. They do share a house just outside of Music City, and co-parent a 1½-year-old pit bull/border collie/bird dog “blend” named Cora Lee — who doesn’t howl . . . much. Coincidentally, siblings can be heard on Howl; members of Nashville’s Jypsi contribute harmony vocals to the gospel-graced closing track, “Mama Don’t You Tell Me.” Warren Haynes also guests, on “Big Time” (which he co-wrote with the band).

We should also mention that none of them was raised in the foothills of the Smokies or the Blue Ridge Mountains, or anywhere near a “holler” — though they sound as if they’d fit right in at the Carter Family Fold in southern Virginia. (And when they plop matching white felt hats on their dark locks, they look the part, too.)

Ian Craft did grow up not far from the Adirondack Mountains, in Homer, N.Y., just south of Syracuse. Jared Green was born and raised in Bayfield, Wis. Plasse was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up in Lexington, Mass., just outside of Boston.

Craft’s first passion was drumming and percussion; he had steel drum bands in high school and college. Green grew up tickling the ivories next to his piano-teacher mother. He did the high-school rock band thing, playing covers at dances. Plasse remembers, “Music was just always in the house. I played guitar from about 14.”

All three wound up at Ithaca, where Craft studied percussion performance and Green and Plasse majored in classical guitar and recording. Craft and Green met, appropriately, at a recording session.

“My steel band was going into the studio to record a demo. Our bass player, Dominic Fisher (of Wood & Wire), was Jared’s roommate,” Craft explains. “Jared was the recording engineer. So I met Jared and I said, ‘Hey, let’s pick some tunes sometime.’ I eventually moved into Jared’s place, and I met Ben through Jared. We all liked the same kind of music.”

Craft sat in with Plasse’s jam band once or twice, and Green joined Craft’s rock band as an electric guitarist. But by then, Green says, Craft had ignited his interest in old-time music.

“We realized that acoustic music was what we loved the best,” says Craft. “We just had so much fun doin’ it.”

Though Craft didn’t know Plasse well, he accompanied Green to Plasse’s college guitar recital. Plasse asked them to join him onstage. “We did some high-singing and three-part-harmony,” Craft recalls, “and Ben’s guitar teacher, Pablo Cohen, from Argentina — an awesome guy — came up to us afterward and said in a really thick accent, ‘Who ees these guys? The Howlin’ Brothers?’ And we said, ‘Hell, yes, we’re The Howlin’ Brothers!’ We’ve kept it ever since.”

Before they knew it, they were a band. After graduation, they hung around Ithaca, scraping by with house-painting jobs, then decided they might as well try their luck in Nashville. That was in 2005.

They’ve been making music full time for three years now, and previously self-released the albums Tragic Mountain Songs (2007), Long Hard Year (2009), Baker St. Blues (2011), and a compilation of live performances, Old Time All the Time (2012). (Sold exclusively at shows until now, they will be available on the band’s website in 2013.)

The trio met Benson through a mutual friend who hosts frequent picking parties, a favorite Nashville pastime. Searching for multi-instrument string players to perform on a Cory Chisel album, Benson asked around, and, according to Benson’s manager, Emily White, “Everyone said he had to talk to The Howlin’ Brothers.”

They ended up spending an entire month in the studio together. “He was just so cool,” Craft says of Benson. “He loved us, and he was like, ‘I’m making your next record.’ We thought he was joking.” But according to White, “When he brought them into the studio he freaked out and called me, saying that he really wanted to produce a record for the guys because they were such amazing players and had a killer thing going on.” Once they got over the shock of realizing he was serious, they created Howl, a mix of originals and classic and traditional covers.

“We always try to include some of our favorite traditional tunes, because it’s cool give a nod to the traditional stuff,” Craft says. But he insists, “It’s not a bluegrass album at all.”

Thirty Tigers A&R chief Kim Buie agrees. “The Howlin’ Brothers’ songs, while lyrically simple, pack the sonic wallop of blistering angst and attitude, contrasted by songs full of melodic heart tugs, and still more songs that are just plain ol’ killer,” she says.

But after working and touring with The Howlin’ Brothers, maybe Benson’s testimonial resonates the most. “The Howlin’ Brothers live the life they sing about in their songs,” he says. “They are authentic and the real deal through and through. On top of that, they are the hardest-working musicians I've come across. They play their instruments every waking moment and are truly possessed by music.”

Possessed by music. Sounds like a great next-album title, especially for a band called The Howlin’ Brothers. But let this one sink in for a while first. Because it’s going to. For sure.
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Howlin' Brothers premiere "Night and Day" video

"With a sound that's parts bluegrass, blues, country and folk, it's good stuff" - Brooklyn Vegan

Perk up your afternoon with the brand new Howlin' Brothers video for Night and Day, where the trio takes the stage at Isis Music Hall in Asheville, NC.

Read more about the video bit.ly target="_blank">here.

Catch the band on their current tour through the US. Full dates can be found bit.ly target="_blank">here.
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The Howlin' Brothers Trouble Released Today

Today marks the release of The Howlin' Brothers sophomore album, Trouble!

"...Trouble is exceptionally well constructed, with the group crafting roots songs that allow the trio to casually showcase its knowledge and skill." - Stephan Thomas Erlewine, AllMusic

bit.ly target="_blank">Read the full AllMusic.com review

Get your copy of Trouble georiot.co targt="_blank">HERE.
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The Howling Brothers announce new album

Nashville-based, country-blues trio The Howlin’ Brothers have just announced the upcoming release of their latest album Trouble, due out on April 29, 2014 through Readymade/Dine Alone Records in Canada. Vinyl copies will follow on May 27, 2014.

The thirteen-track album was produced and engineered by indie rocker and singer-songwriter Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs) and comes to fans as the follow-up record to The Howlin’ Brothers critically acclaimed 2013 release HOWL. The release features original songs that were heavily influenced by the people they met and struggles that they encountered on the road over the past year. Fiddle/banjo and vocalist Ian Craft says: "Trouble is an awesome recipe for tasty sounds. Your ears will be happy to take the journey with us from Jay’s songs of love and Cajun food, to Ben’s travels to get a mojo hand and find the girl who has yet to present herself, to my tunes of love gone wrong and finally, a little moment in an old church on top of a smoky ole Tennessee mountain top.”

Benson describes Trouble as “effortless artistry . . . woebegone, lovelorn and wrought with pain, but not without installments of lightheartedness and beauty, downtrodden and then uplifted.” He adds, “The Howlin’ Brothers are somehow able to conjure images of a bygone era and make it believable. The listener gets a glimpse into the troubadour lifestyle, traveling (among other places) to Louisiana for a Cajun romp on the bayou and across the Arizona desert to California on a search for a misses. It’s a journey very much worth the while.”

Trouble Track Listing:
01. Pour It Down
02. Boogie
03. Night and Day
04. Monroe
05. World Spinning Round
06. Troubled Waltz
07. Sing a Sad Song
08. Pack Up Joe
09. Love
10. Hard Times
11. I Was Wrong
12. Louisiana
13. Yes I Am!

“The Howlin’ Brothers take bluegrass and old-timey music as a starting point that allows them to rip into traditionally inflected tunes with a verve and energy that wouldn’t feel out of place on a rock ’n’ roll record. This is acoustic music with one eye turned toward the past and the other squarely facing the future.”—PopMatters

Upcoming Canadian Tour Dates
03.30.14 Vancouver, BC @ The Railway Club
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Download Howlin' Brothers' new song "Love"

The Alternate Root has released their annual Valentine's Day playlist featuring a brand new song from Nashville crooners The Howlin' Brothers titled simply as "Love." The track is a cut off the trio's upcoming album (details TBA) and, as TAR puts it, "take their hill music down to Jamaica’s Blue Mountain for the world’s first sighting/sounding of bluegrass dub direct from recordings in Rasta Holler."

thealternateroot.com target="_blank">Click to download "Love" via The Alternate Root.
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Stream Howlin' Brothers' Sun Studio Session EP

The Howlin' Brothers have created a six track EP, The Sun Studio Session EP, recorded in May of this year at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis featuring four original songs from the band: “Till I Find You,” “Troubled Waltz,” “Take Me Down,” and “Charleston Chew," ending with a new version of “Tennessee Blues,” which also appears on Howl.

Fans can listen to the album a week before its official October 15 release right now via CBC Music.

bit.ly target="_blank">Click here to stream The Sun Studio Sessions EP.

The Sun Studio EP track list:
1. Dixie Fried
2. Til I Find You
3. Troubled Waltz
4. Take Me Down
5. Charleston Chew
6. Tennessee Blues
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