Before the Brothers got into “Trouble,” they were schoolmates.
The Howlin’ Brothers is a string band made up of Ben Plasse, Jared Green and Ian Craft. The combo, set to play Goshen’s Ignition Music Garage next week, has its origin at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.
“Jared and I were both classical guitar and recording majors, and Ian was a percussion major,” Plasse said in a phone interview with The Goshen News. “...I think we all just kind of ended up getting into folk music around the exact same time. We were all in rock bands.”
Plasse recalled the guys “just sitting around the campfire, trying to learn Grateful Dead tunes and then trying to learn new instruments like the mandolin. It kind of just spiraled onto itself until that was all we did.”
What The Howlin’ Brothers do gained increased attention and acclaim with the 2013 album release “Howl.” The trio was also featured on the January 2014 cover of Acoustic Guitar magazine. The Brothers are now on tour for their new album “Trouble,” produced by Brendan Benson, noted for his solo career and as member of The Raconteurs.
The album features Craft on banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and kick drum; Plasse on upright bass; and Green on guitar, harmonica and piano. As their name perhaps suggests, The Howlin’ Brothers share vocal duties. Guest artists on the album include no less than Ricky Skaggs on mandolin.
“Trouble” is uptempo and down, incorporating elements of old-time country, country blues, bluegrass, Cajun and — on “Love” — reggae and the aforementioned Dead. The album has tunes about good times and bad, and Plasse said the “Trouble” material is drawn from the Brothers’ time on the road.
“The last album, ‘Howl,’ we weren’t touring yet when we cut it,” Plasse said. “So I’d say all those songs sort of have their roots in Nashville and what we were going through there.