|Mark "Huggy Bear" Lavengood|
Like many young, modern bands, Mark is intently focused on social media and it's role in the local music scene, so it is not surprise that when the Native Howl's viral video Thunderhead (above) took facebook by storm (13+ Million views at last check and peaking at #4 on the bluegrass charts!), Mark took notice and invited them to open for him at his Ann Arbor Album Release. It should be readily apparent that The Native Howl's internet success in not due to some cheesy, "look-at-me" online stunt, but rather, the result of their charismatic enthusiasm and zeal, coupled with hard-earned musical chops and a touch of professional production and PR. All of these were on display at The Ark where the band debuted a few songs off their upcoming CD. The "thrashy-but-grassy" title track Into the Darkness is a killer tune, as was their encore number which featured Mark Lavengood doing his own thrash-metal interpretation on his dobro! However, it was a couple of pure-bluegrass instrumental interludes the band played between songs that reminded me of what I love best about The Native Howl--their ability to relentlessly push the envelope of bluegrass music while still remaining respectful to the tradition they came from. Fans across the country will get a chance to see what I mean this summer as the band departs on their first multi-state, national tour.
|"Huggy Bear" Hard At Work|
|Dennie, Rhodes, Lavengood, Cain and Billick|
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