The Howlin’ Brothers
The Howlin’ Brothers caught the ears with 2013’s Howl, and their new album Trouble continues the trio’s infectious string/jug band sound anew. Made up of Ben Plasse (bass and banjo), Ian Craft (fiddle and banjo), and guitarist Jared Green, these guys became the name to drop in acoustic circles, with their varied sound and earnest delivery.
Did I say varied? The record starts with “Pour It Down”, which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band record, with all three members helping out vocally in a rousing romp of a song. Next up is “Boogie”, full of Aereo-Plain John Hartford’s sly irreverence and a spirited banjo part. The albums thirteen cuts range from the Cajun rhythms of “Monroe” to the classic country sound of “World Spinning Round”. Later on they take a Jerry Garcia-like guitar part into the slow reggae of “Love”.
In lesser hands this genre-jumping might come off as forced, but for The Howlin’ Brothers they are all expressions of their musical gift, their obvious devotion to all things that make American music so wonderful and unique, all mixed together into a musical gumbo. Trouble ain’t bad, in fact, it’s great!