The buzz is growing louder, radio airplay is picking up, and more and more people are showing up to watch The Howlin’ Brothers do their thing on stage each night. Guess it’s about time to call these eight-year vets from upstate New York an overnight success.
Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Ian Craft laughs.
“It is a little bit weird, but at the same time, that’s cool if people want to call us an overnight success,” he said, but with their latest album Howl garnering that rare mix of critical and popular acclaim, things are starting to change a bit for the trio, which includes Jared Green (Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals), and Ben Plasse (Upright Bass, Banjo, Vocals).
“I guess we’re just figuring it out as each new situation comes along,” said Craft of the band’s changing fortunes. “But I think we’ve been able to cope with it just by the fact that we’re all really good friends and we’re all going through these stages at the same time. It’s been relatively easy as far as all that goes just because we had each other to keep us grounded.”
They also have good friends and mentors around them, including Howl producer Brendan Benson, who told the group “you’re in the big time now; you’re swimming with the sharks. Just watch out for yourselves, always.”
“That’s one piece advice that stuck to me this whole time, recalled Craft.
Yet despite the band going from playing in a room by themselves to making a return trip to the Big Apple to play Hill Country Live on Thursday, they’ve been able to separate the business end of the gig from the gigs themselves, and you get the impression that this will always be the case for this dedicated trio.
“We approach every gig excited to play it and we try to leave all that other stuff behind us, especially when we’re on stage,” he said. “I think it can become overwhelming when you’re not on stage, as the business stuff builds up on you, but as long as we have our chance to get away and meditate on stage every night, I think we’ll be good.”
Next month, the band will release a new EP, The Sun Studio Session, and work has already started on their next album, all of which will help them keep the momentum from Howl and its tour going.
“We’re real pumped about the next project, and it should be a good one,” said Craft. “We’ve got a bunch of songs we’re working on. I do think we have more of a sense of our sound now, but I always think it’s just taking everything that we’ve learned and loved and still listened to, and when the moment hits us, we try and write an inspired song.”
Then it’s time to take it on the road, which is where The Howlin’ Brothers truly feel at home.
“I just hope everyone has a lot of fun,” said Craft of their live shows. “Every time we play, it’s just awesome and fun, and that’s what I hope they take away from it: a really fun night of music and dance. It’s awesome to get people from any walk of life into some acoustic music. That’s a good feeling.”
The Howlin' Brothers play Hill Country Live in NYC on Thursday, September 26. For tickets, click here