The Howlin’ Brothers may not be brothers, but everything else about them screams “authentic.” Three multi-instrumentalists pickin’ and clickin’ at breakneck speed could wear an audience out, but these guys just got us fired up.
Taking the stage without fanfare on banjo, upright bass and guitar, the boys tore through old-school hill country and bluegrass styles without letup until they called an old friend onstage to play. Using mostly their own material alternately written by Ian Craft (banjo, fiddle), ) Ben Plasse (bass, banjo and probably other instruments), and Jared Green (guitar,harp, clogs/fancy footwork) or some combination thereof (occasionally including Warren Haynes in the songwriting mix); the rest were classics. Boredom is not an option. All three have excellent voices and trade off songs wonderfully on leads and harmony. Call me easy, but I totally fell for Jared Green’s clogging, which he digs into while playing harp, guitar, singing and walking through the audience.
The Howlin’ Brothers’ new album, Howl shows off their talents, including some good New Orleans jazz, complete with Howlin’ horns and a bit of gospel. Listen carefully and you’ll hear the patter of little feet—that would be Green playing heel-and-toe percussion. If pressed, I did enjoy the live performance a tad better, but then I was high on Hill Country’s brisket, my drug of choice.
– Suzanne Cadgene