Signing Story: The Howling Brothers--Signing withBenson's Label

By Jessica Pace

Date Signed: February 2012
Label: Readymade Records
Type of Music: American Roots
Band Members: Ian Craft, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, vocals; Ben Plasse, upright bass, banjo, vocals; Jared Green, guitar, harmonica, vocals.
Management: John Porter, [email protected]
Booking: NA
Legal: Eric Griffin, [email protected]
Publicity: Cary Baker / Conqueroo, [email protected]
Web: http://howlingbrothers.com
A&R: Brendan Benson

The Howling Brothers’ Ian Craft calls Readymade Records “a label to be reckoned with.” It’s a fair statement considering Readymade, like most musical projects out of Nashville, TN, is well connected. Founded by Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs, the label is home to a select group of Benson’s interests, most recently Music City-based blues/folk trio, the Howling Brothers.

Prior to signing a three-year deal with the label, the Howling Brothers’ multi-instrumentalists Ian Craft and Jared Green were collaborating on an album with Readymade artist Corey Chisel and befriended Benson through him. Benson wanted to produce a Howling Brothers record, and from there, “it kind of fell into place,” according to Craft.

The album Craft refers to is Howl, the band’s first release through Ready- made, set to drop March 5, 2013. Though the Howling Brothers have been a band for nearly a decade, the prospect of having outsiders’ input on their musical decisions was virgin territory.

“To bring in outside folks is

definitely scary, but a huge

improvement to how we do

things in the band.”

“To bring in outside folks is definitely scary,” Craft admits, “but definitely worthwhile and a huge improvement to how we do things in the band.”

For one thing, the Howling Brothers will be touring overseas next year in support of the new album—and if the band doesn’t make money, the label doesn’t either.

“The big thing here is instead of paying upfront, everyone works on commission, so there’s more incentive for everyone to work harder,” Craft reasons. “Everyone makes money at the end of it, which is pretty cool. Just based on what I’ve read, people have their doubts about that kind of deal, but I think it’s a pretty awesome route.”

All-encompassing control doesn’t seem to be the aim of Readymade Records, which is why much of the Howling Brothers’ routine, like playing their long-term weekly Nashville gig at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn, has stayed the same.

“We’re very particular. If it didn’t feel right and we weren’t getting a caring feeling from the label, we wouldn’t have signed the contract,” Craft states. “Trust your judgment. If it seems shady, it’s definitely shady. If it feels good, go with it.”