The Town Howlers at The Starry Plough, by William Wayland
The Town Howlers (photo: William Wayland)

Words by William Wayland

The Town Howlers have been playing for the Northern California bluegrass community since 2014.

This month, the band officially released their debut album at The Starry Plough in Berkeley Alright Everybody! It's a mix of traditional bluegrass songs like “Tennessee Blues” by Bill Monroe and “Dickenson County Breakdown” by The Stanley Brothers. It also includes original tunes by the band with “Got Away with Murder” being one of my favorites.

On stage, the Town Howlers use a single Ear Trumpet microphone and the music is choreographed so that the lead vocal or instrument is closest to the mic. Recorded directly to tape, Alright Everybody! has the feeling of a live performance.

Preceding the Town Howlers, Niki and Tonya brought traditional harmonies to this, one of their first performances after the breakup of their former band, Old Belle. Nashville Honeymoon provided a fun honky tonk-y rockabilly set. Lynne and Hank have an act that’s sometimes reminiscent of June Carter and Johnny Cash, and even did a rendition of “Jackson” for the Starry Plough crowd.

It’s not unusual for a local band to raise funds to cover the cost of playing, but the Town Howlers have a most delicious way of doing it — anyone who bought a CD that night was eligible to win a freshly-baked pie. We hope this is an idea that catches on.

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