Written by James Killen
Oct 22, 2013 at 04:39 PM
ImageHMR- Hey, Ian, tell me what is going on with the Howlin’ Brothers and your upcoming show at the Dosey Doe.

Ian Craft- Yeah, man we’re super pumped about coming down there.

HMR- Great, great. Is this your first time down to this area or have you been here before?

IC- We’ve been there a handful of times, but not much. Every time that we’ve been there it’s been so cool. Texas is one of our favorite spots to play. The whole dancing culture…it’s such an awesome place.

HMR- Great and it also doesn’t snow, it’s a wonderful thing. Have you ever played the Dosey Doe, before?

IC- No, never played there.

HMR- It’s a nice little venue on the north side of town where wealthy folks live. It has a nice stage with a curtain. It’s nicer than what you might expect from a regular road house.

IC- That’s awesome!

HMR- Tell me a little bit more. How did the Howlin’ Brothers come to be? I mean, you weren’t born brothers, right?

IC- No, no. We were all going to school at Ithaca College in New York. We all met up and became buddies through music. Jared, the guitar player was a recording engineer and he was recording my steel drum band session. I had a five piece steel drum band, that I played the lead pan in. We met through that and started hanging out at the bonfires, picking old time folk and bluegrass. We met Ben and eventually we all ended up down in Nashville and that was really the beginning of the Howlin’ Brothers.

HMR- Very cool. Steel drum, like Caribbean steel drums?

IC- Ha, ha, yeah.

HMR- That’s quite a jump there from … steel drum to Americana..

IC- Yeah, I was a percussionist in college and I played a lot of drum set with rock bands. I was a rock and roller. We were all rock and rollers and then we discovered folk music, we all came to it at the same time. It was kind of poof, it just overtook us.

HMR- There’s quite a folk tradition up there in Ithaca, isn’t there? Isn’t that where the Burns Sisters are from?

IC- Yeah and the Horse Five and Richie Stearns. There is a lot of great old time music up there.

HMR- I just saw Jeannie Burns with Andrew Hardin down here a few weeks ago. They were great.

IC- Nice. Awesome.

HMR- I’ve been checking you guys out on YouTube and listened to your latest album, “Howl”. Your influences seem to come from all over the Mississippi basin. Have you guys been drinking from the Big Muddy?

IC- We definitely have been influenced by it. We haven’t spent a whole lot of time down there. It’s such a rich culture to be inspired by. The food and the music, everything about that area.

HMR- Yeah. I really appreciate the way that you seem to put it all together. The Delta Blues to Dixieland Jazz to Bluegrass to Appalachian Folk, you seem to have such a great meld of all of that. It was all in there.

IC- Thanks. We just love it all. We don’t want to seem too scatter brained. We just want to represent traditional American music.

HMR- Right. If you had to pick your biggest blues, your biggest bluegrass and your biggest Dixieland, who would that be?

IC- For the blues it would have to be Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters, I just love those guys so much, and Jimmy Rogers from Chicago. I love all of the Dixieland guys. One doesn’t stand out by himself. And what was the other one? Bluegrass?

HMR- Yeah, right.

IC- I’d say like one of my favorites is Tim O’Brian. He does a lot of traditional roots stuff but he also ventures out there a little bit. He keeps on moving it out there like music should.

HMR- I’m an old Grateful Deadhead, myself, and I have been a big David Grisman fan. I like to see how those guys pull from everywhere and keep pushing ahead. They were kind of the original Americana guys before people came up with the word.

IC- Oh, totally.

HMR- When I listened to your disc, it kept reminding me of a movie soundtrack, grabbing snippets from history. Have you guys thought about marketing some of your stuff in Hollywood?

IC- It’s always a hope. That would be something beautiful. It’s like Levon Helms says, royalty checks, “Those are checks from God.”

HMR- It seems like a lot of the recording artists today are looking for the movie and TV opportunities instead of the traditional recording contracts. People don’t seem to buy whole records any more. They buy them song by song for 99 cents a pop.

IC- It’s a weird and frustrating time. You make a whole record like doing a concert. Everything kind of fits together. You have to get a whole taste of it.

HMR- Right. It doesn’t work for me. Somebody records a disc with a concept of where they want to take the listener on a little trip. If you buy one song it’s like taking a single photograph from the whole trip.

IC- Exactly.

HMR- Tell me what you would like for people to read when they are thinking about coming to see your show.

IC- I guess it’s about music. Music, dancing, and fun.

HMR- I’m game for that.

IC- Music, dancing, drinking and fun. Those 4 things, I guess.

HMR- The Dosey Doe sure supports the idea of having a few drinks while you’re out there as long as you have somebody to drive you home. That’s part of how they make their living.

IC- Hell, yeah.