What do you get when you mix a little bit of banjo, a little bit of thrash, and a whole lot of attitude? You get thrash-grass, or if you are like me and you get tongue-tied over that you get bluegrass thrash metal.
The Native Howl is a band out of…wait for it… DETROIT! Admit it, when you read banjo you immediately thought hillbilly. However, The Native Howl lets us know, in an in-your-face kind of way, that even banjos can be heavy and they don’t have to be played by drunken, barefoot hillbillies wearing overalls.
The band is the brainchild of lead vocalists and guitarists Alex Holycross and Jake Sawicki. In the fall of 2013, they released a six song EP, The Revolution’s Dead, and were joined by Josh LeMieux on drums, and Mark Chandler on bass. Because they wanted to play music their way, they created their own record label, Clean as Dirt Records, and through it released their full-length album, Inukshuk and their latest EP, Thrash Grass.
They recently took the stage in Jacksonville, NC, and I have to admit I wanted to see them, not because I had heard of them, but because I thought it would be “interesting.” Being a country girl, I know about harmonicas and banjos. What I did not know was that they would appeal to the metal girl I have turned into. I never imagined that ‘picking’ (what we southerners call playing banjos) would be accompanied by a mosh pit. What makes them so much more interesting as a band is that each member plays a lead role. It isn’t very often you hear a drummer take lead on a song, but LeMieux does and does it well.
I had the fortune to talk to the band for a few moments before they hit the stage.
There are still dates left in their tour, so if you want to have your misconceptions about bluegrass and metal erased be sure to check them out.
08 Jul Folk In The Woods Jeddo, MI
20 Jul Blue Water Fest Port Huron, MI
21 Jul Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Fest Ypsilanti, MI
22 Jul Dunesville Music Festival Lake Ann, MI
12 Aug Pickin’ in the Pasture Middletown Springs, VT
27 Aug Tangent Gallery Detroit, MI
22 Sep Unity College Student Center Unity, ME
30 Sep SMOD Fest Sioux Falls, SD
13 Oct Cold Creek Campout 2017 Mears, MI
20 Oct Bridge Jam Fayetteville, WV