When the Howlin’ Brothers bound into a song, you can feel the history of American music come alive. The self-proclaimed “oletime” trio — Ian Craft, Jared Green and Ben Plasse — have made a life out of reclaiming traditional American music for a new generation of roots music fans.
Their latest project, a digital EP titled Sun Studio Sessions, finds the band trading in their front porch, unison singing for a bluesy feel in the Memphis studio that’s one of the most famous in rock ‘n’ roll.
“Sun Studios is magical,” singer, fiddler and banjo picker Craft tells CMT Edge by email. “As soon as you enter the office, then the live room, it hits you. We definitely felt like we were becoming part of a lineage of musical folks from Howlin’ Wolf to Carl Perkins to Elvis Presley.”
Four original Howlin’ Brothers tracks join “Tennessee Blues” and a specially-chosen cover of Perkins’ “Dixie Fried.”
“The four originals were written beforehand,” Craft says. “We picked them because we thought they would simmer well in the Sun kitchen of tasty music. We all looked up classic Sun recordings and started to realize just how deep the musical legacy is at Sun. It’s astounding the amount of hits that were recorded there.”
Asked if the feel of the room affected their recording session, Craft replies, “That vibe for sure impacted how we played. The song ‘Tennessee Blues’ has a real unique sway like a willow tree. Jared played the famous Sun piano, and I swear, you could feel more musicians coming out of sound tiles on the walls and ceiling. It sure felt good.”
Each recording, though, took on a familiar feel in the historic building.
“No AC, just like the old days,” says Craft. “That helped get a sweltering-hot-Memphis-in-June feel to it all.”
The Howlin’ Brothers’ Sun Studio Sessions comes out in digital-only format on Tuesday (Oct. 15), and then the band will drop into another famous musical landmark, Nashville’s Station Inn, for a show on Oct. 17.
Until then, enjoy the Sun Studio Sessions EP on CMT Edge.