FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2014
THE HOWLIN’ BROTHERS TO RELEASE NEW ALBUM TROUBLE APRIL 29 IN THE U.S. AND CANADA
A year after the release of their critically acclaimed HOWL, acoustic trio with indie edge returns with 13 new original songs.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Howlin’ Brothers had a very good year in 2013, following the release of HOWL, their first nationally and internationally released album. HOWL, featuring Warren Haynes (on one track, “Big Time”), brought instant success to the band. In one year they graced the cover of Acoustic Guitar magazine’s January 2014 issue; recorded in the legendary Sun Studio; were featured in a national PBS show (The Sun Sessions, which will broadcast throughout 2014 in more than 100 markets); shared the stage with Grammy® winner Ricky Skaggs; placed on over 17 end-of-year “best of” lists, and reached #6 on the Americana Music radio chart (was also #30 on that year-end chart, the highest charting position by an act/artist new to the format last year). The trio toured their brand of “old-time string country blues with an indie-rock edge” throughout the U.S. and into Canada. The majority of the 13 original songs that comprise Trouble, due out April 29, 2014, were influenced by the people they met and struggles they encountered on the road over the past year.
Trouble was produced and engineered by indie rocker Brendan Benson of The Raconteurs and solo career fame. It will be released on CD and digitally April 29th via Benson’s independent label Readymade Records (in the U.S.), and distributed by Thirty Tigers/RED. In Canada, it will be released via Dine Alone Records, and distributed by Universal. It will be released throughout Europe via CRS on April 28th. The vinyl configuration will follow on May 27th in the U.S. and Canada, and on May 26th throughout Europe.
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. Trouble is all over the map and I don’t just mean figuratively. 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. Hoooowwwwllll!”
Benson continues: “The Howlin’ Brothers live the life they sing about in their songs. 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.”
Amidst all the touring and other activities the guys did to support HOWL, Brother Jared Green got married and became a dad, making the time away from home even harder for him. But every night on stage he brings the joy of playing and dancing to the music alive. His Taylor guitar is almost as worn as Willie Nelson’s famous guitar “Trigger,” with its extra sound hole created by too much pickin’. In addition to playing guitar, harmonica, dancing’ up a storm and singing, Brother Jared is an accomplished piano player (check out his playing on “Tennessee Blues” from The Sun Studio SessionEP). He sings lead vocals on the songs he wrote: “Monroe,” “Pack Up Joe” and “Hard Times”.
According to Green, “The songs on Trouble are very different from one another. It’s a collection of beautiful music influenced from personal experience. We tend to write songs separately and collaborate after a melody or lyrics are fully thought. Trouble is a gumbo of stories that we hope the whole world will hear. It was a blast working with Brendan Benson again, getting as far out sonically as we could dream of, all in the midst of having a brand new baby and coming right off the road from a busy year. A time of my life I will never forget.”
He adds: "HOWL received great reviews from all over the world. I am still impressed by the overwhelmingly positive response it has received. We toured our asses off in 2013 gaining much insight into ourselves and the world we live in. It is beautiful to see people from all walks of life getting down to our music and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that we are growing our fan base.
Trouble’s songs touch on lots of experiences from each side of the same coin in the band’s life. Though these guys have more depth and dimension than just two sides as people, players, and songwriters. Their individual strengths combine in the bands’ whole in ways that really do solidify their bond as musical brothers. They all met in college up in Ithaca, N.Y. and migrated to Nashville, Tenn. Afterwards, where they immersed themselves further in the Southern music they love and began to further hone their craft. Prior to HOWL (2013), they self released four albums —Tragic Mountain
Songs (2007), Long Hard Year (2009), Baker St. Blues (2011), and a very limited edition compilation of live performances, Old Time All the Time (2012). These previous releases had been sold exclusively at shows, however they may become available on the band’s website sometime in 2014. An old-time pickin' party and the wash tub bass led to them meeting Brendan Benson, who later tapped them to perform on a Cory Chisel record he was producing, soon after Brendan & the guys teamed up to create HOWL.
They ended their HOWL Tour in style last year opening for and then participating in the Brendan Benson & Friends benefit concert (for The David Lynch Foundation) at The Ryman Auditorium in late December. They will reprise the same role on the 2014 version of this show in London at Shepherd’s Bush this coming October 11th.
Brother Ben Plasse plays stand-up bass and sings lead vocals on the songs he wrote: “Boogie”, “Love”, "Troubled Waltz” and “Louisiana”.
“HOWL was very well received, and I think we owe a lot of that to great bands like the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Old Crow Medicine Show among others, who paved the way for a new generation of string bands to have success. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many young bands making music on fiddles and banjos.”
Brother Ian Craft plays banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and sings lead vocals on the songs he wrote: “Pour It Down,” “Night and Day,” “Sing a Sad Song,” “World Spinning Round,” “I Was Wrong” and “Yes I Am!”
Craft says: "Trouble is an awesome recipe for tasty sounds your ears will be happy to take the journey with us from Jays 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.”
In the fall of 2013, The Howlin’ Brothers recorded and digitally released The Sun Studio Session EP in the U.S. and Canada. Recorded as part of the PBS series The Sun Studio Sessions, this six-song collection features four new originals (one of which, “Troubled Waltz,” was re-recorded for Trouble), a re-record of “Tennessee Blues” (from HOWL), and a cover of the Carl Perkins' classic “Dixie Fried.” A limited edition vinyl pressing will also be released via independent music stores on May 27th in the U.S. and Canada as well, and the EP will also be released in Europe on July 7 in CD, digital, and vinyl. Their segment (#8) of the PBS show has already begun airing and will be broadcast on TV in as many as 100 markets throughout this year in the U.S. The guys treated the opportunity to record in that historic studio with respect and really captured the spirit & tradition of those famous early rock ’n’ roll recordings that helped change the music world, by breathing new life into the process — adding subtle modern touches via their own influences and vision.
This EP was a bridge between HOWL and Trouble and is worth seeking out for all who dig those old Sun recordings and fans of The Howlin’ Brothers alike. The legendary Sun Studio in Memphis is still a going concern. A tourist destination during the day, the “Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll” often hosts sessions after hours with some of today’s best up and coming acts.
The Howlin’ Brothers begin a Pledge Music campaign the week of March 3 to help raise funds for a new van (so they can keep touring), some videos and marketing help for Trouble, and to better fund their overall business efforts.
Info at http://www.PledgeMusic.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11th, 2013
THE HOWLIN’ BROTHERS TO RELEASE THE SUN STUDIO SESSION EP OCTOBER 15th IN THE U.S. AND CANADA
On heels of HOWL album, which reached No. 6 Americana and gleaned rave reviews, and while new, 2014 album is completed, EP keeps momentum up as the band crosses North America this fall.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Howlin’ Brothers have had a very good year, so far — especially for guys who’d previously spent the bulk of their time honing their craft in clubs like Layla’s Bluegrass Inn on lower Broadway and other small roots-friendly clubs in and around Nashville for the past five-plus years. Their first nationally distributed album, HOWL was released to critical acclaim, reached No. 6 on the Americana Music radio chart, and lead to them touring almost all over the U.S. and into Canada, as well.
HOWL was produced by alternative rocker Brendan Benson (of the Raconteurs and solo career fame) and released in March via his independent label, Readymade Records in the U.S., and distributed by Thirty Tigers/RED. In Canada, it was released via Dine Alone Records in May, and distributed by Universal. In October, HOWL will be released throughout Europe via Continental Record Services. An Australian release is being planned as well.
According to the trio’s stand-up bass player and vocalist Ben Plasse, “HOWL was very well received, and I think we owe a lot of that to great bands like the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Old Crow Medicine Show among others, who paved the way for a new generation of string bands to have success. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many young bands making music on fiddles and banjos! We are so grateful to be a part of that scene, and really appreciate the positive reaction to our original interpretation of these old styles.”
In order to keep the momentum strong with their new fans between now and the released of their next studio album (which will again be produced by Benson) in February of 2014, The Howlin’ Brothers will release a fun EP of six songs they recorded in May of this year at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis, the Sun Studio Session EP. They recorded these songs live in the studio, as was the custom when Sun Studio gained fame for being the recording home of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Rich.
In fact, the lead off track “Dixie Fried” (the lone cover on this collection) was co-written by Carl Perkins & Howard “Curdley” Griffin and released as a single on Sun Records in 1956. (Griffin also co-wrote the hit song “Boppin’ the Blues” with Carl Perkins that year.) The song has been re-recorded by Chris Isaak, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Jim Dickinson and others.
Howlin’ Brothers banjo, fiddle, kick-drum, mandolin and vocalist Ian Craft explains: “We all searched the Sun catalog for a tasty song, and in my searching I found an awesome live clip of Carl Perkins rocking it on a live TV show. I was so impressed by it to learn it. With Matt Ross-Spang’s good ears and abilities behind the controls, I think we got an awesome Howlin’ Brothers style take on the tune.”
Four Howlin’ Brothers original songs make their recorded debut on The Sun Studio Session EP: “Til I Find You,” “Troubled Waltz,” “Take Me Down,” and “Charleston Chew.” The EP ends with a new version of “Tennessee Blues,” which also appears on their HOWL album. It’s a killer, no filler collection that adds nicely to the story they are building and allows this “country-blues string band” with an indie-rock edge to honor the roots and tradition of the music they love as they continue to breathe new life into it by adding subtle modern touches via their own influences and vision.
The legendary Sun Studio in Memphis is still a going concern. A tourist destination during the day — it is after all billed as “The Birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” — often at night it hosts sessions by some of today’s best up and coming acts.
“Recording at Sun Studios was like going back in time,” says Howlin’ Brother Jared Green, who plays guitar, harmonica, piano and sings. “You can see and feel the history in the walls and floor of the tracking room. It was an honor to work with engineer Matt Ross-Spang and be captured with that authentic Sun Studios sound.”
The Sun Studio Session EP will be released widely on all digital platforms outside of Europe and Australia on October 15th. It will be available on CD via the band’s web site and at its shows. A limited edition vinyl pressing will also be available through the web site and at shows and also through indie music stores taking part in Record Store Day on April 19, 2014. It will be released in Australia sometime in 2014, and in Europe next May in advance of the band’s touring there. PBS (in the U.S.) will air the entire Sun Studio Session episode and interview on over 100+ stations in early 2014.
Dixie Fried (2:23)
Til I Find You (4:00)
Troubled Waltz (3:20)
Take Me Down (3:22)
Charleston Chew (2:29)
Tennessee Blues (4:19)
Produced by The Howlin’ Brothers
Engineered by Matt Ross-Spang
Recorded May 17th at Sun Studio, Memphis, TN
“Tennessee Blues” live from Sun Studio
Sun., Sept. 15, 6 p.m. NASHVILLE, TN The Bluebird Cafe
Wed., Sept. 18, 10 p.m. NASHVILLE, TN Layla’s Bluegrass Inn
Thurs., Sept. 19 NASHVILLE, TN Americana Music Festival & Conference:
Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, 2-6 p.m.; The Highway Girl/Outlaw Magazine Party at the National Underground, 8 p.m.;
The Basement (official showcase), midnight.
Sat., Sept. 21, 4 p.m. OAK PARK, IL OakToberfest
Sun., Sept. 22, 12:30 p.m. FESTUS, MO West City Park/Traditional Music Festival
Sun., Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m. ELLIS GROVE, IL Fort Kaskaskia Traditional Music Festival
Tues., Sept. 24 BUFFALO, NY The Sportsman’s Tavern
Wed., Sept. 25 WOODSTOCK, NY The Bearsville Theater Lounge
Thurs., Sept. 26 NEW YORK, NY Hill Country BBQ
Fri., Sept. 27 SOMERVILLE, MA Johnny D’s
Sat., Sept. 28 SELLERSVILLE, PA The Sellersville Theater opening for Robbie Fulks
Sun., Sept. 29 WASHINGTON, DC Hill Country Live
Thurs., Oct. 10 ATLANTA, GA Red Light Cafe
Fri., Oct. 11 DAHLONEGA, GA The Crimson Moon Cafe opening for Woody Pines
Sat., Oct. 12 CHARLOTTE, NC U.S. Whitewater Ctr. opening for Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott
Thurs., Oct. 17, 8 p.m. NASHVILLE, TN The Station Inn
Sun., Oct. 20, 7 p.m. TULSA, OK Mercury Lounge
Tues., Oct. 22 THE WOODLANDS, TX Dosey Doe co-bill w/Wood & Wire
Wed., Oct. 23 AUSTIN, TX Cactus Cafe co-bill w/Wood & Wire
Thurs., Oct. 24 AUSTIN, TX Cactus Cafe co-bill w/Wood & Wire
Sat., Oct. 26 JACKSON, MS Hal & Mal’s w/very special guests Sound Wagon
Sun., Oct. 27 OXFORD, MS Proud Larry’s
Fri., Nov. 1 EVANSTON / CHICAGO, IL SPACE
Sun., Nov. 3 ROCKFORD, IL Severson Dells Nature Center
Wed., Dec. 18 NASHVILLE, TN The Ryman Auditorium/Brendan Benson & Friends
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15th, 2012
THE HOWLIN' BROTHERS DELIVER
BRENDAN BENSON-PRODUCED HOWL
(ON HIS OWN READYMADE RECORDS LABEL),
THEIR FIRST NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RELEASE
Genre-busting first-quarter 2013 release
features guest appearances from Warren Haynes and Jypsi
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — 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 (through Thirty Tigers) set for March 5, 2013 release, 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. “Howling 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 Howling 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.
# # #
The Howling Brothers are:
Ian Craft (Banjo, Mandolin, Fiddle, Vocals)
Jared Green (Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals)
Ben Plasse (Upright Bass, Banjo, Vocals)