Henhouse Prowlers
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Henhouse Prowlers

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band World Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Henhouse Prowlers Visit Colorado Early this Month"

By Tomas Texino
When the Henhouse Prowlers introduce themselves as being from Chicago, the home of bluegrass, more often than not, they get a laugh. Hipper heads however will know that the Second City has an extremely rich heritage of acoustic music anchored by a solid cadre of singer-songwriter greats like the late Steve Goodman, Ed Holstien, Michael Smith, Steve Gillette, Roger McGuinn, John Prine, plus a host of youngsters coming on the scene
Aside from the city’s strong folk roots set around such clubs as the late lamented Earl of Old Town, Chicago was a destination for the professional bluegrass bands of the music’s first generation; a big city where the likes of Bill Monroe, Flat and Scruggs, and Jimmy Martin could try for a larger audience and increase their radio play. It may be an overlooked fact, but unlike most of her expansions, America’s music styles tended to build from the South to the North and solidify before heading west. Today it is no surprise to hear authentic bluegrass styles from Boston to British Columbia, so when the Prowlers say Chicago’s the home of bluegrass, they can be sure it’s in the neighborhood.
The Henhouse Prowlers are a five-piece group based in Chicago that have made a commitment to devote as much time to playing as possible. Right now that’s about 188 nights on the road.
I got a great deal of my background from speaking with the band’s affable banjo player, Ben Wright. Ben grew up in the East but it was not till a move to the Chicago area in his teens that he found himself at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Park, being seduced by a 5-string and after two months of lessons, he knew the instrument was his calling. As much as folks in the Bluegrass ranks tease banjo players, it should be noted that the instrument is very hard to play at first and a good teacher seems to be the best way to test the waters for taking a shine to the contraption that more than any other instrument identifies with bluegrass music.
Along with Wright, Jon Goldfine is on the traditional bass violin; Ben Benedict, guitar; Ryan Hinshaw, fiddle and new member Steve Harberecter on mandolin. Steve replaces James Weigel a fine resophonic player and songwriter who will continue to write for the band and will be performing a series of upcoming events before leaving due to other business commitments.
It should be said here that everyone in the band has a dual role to their commitment as full-time musicians. Playing and working go hand in hand, with band members in a position to leave his other employment when the calendar calls. I inferred from talking with Wright that most of the players taught locally and could work schedules to fit. Still, it takes a firm desire for success to be able to drop everything and hit the road for a string of unknown bar gigs on the way to a larger venue. It is also one way that a new band becomes known outside of their region and gets a shot at widespread recognition. Another way is a CD and airplay. The Prowlers were fortunate in that area due to their providing the sound track for a 12-part PBS documentary called The Ride of Our Lives, which has played nationally in the past year.
The Prowlers have a CD out now, but are extremely high about their second effort, which is almost ready to burn. Production help from Greg Cahill of Special Consensus and mandolin legend Don Stiernberg fuels their excitement.
The album is nearly all original material performed in the bands solid style, which is reminiscent of the recorded bluegrass of the early ‘60s. Their style moves beyond music as well since despite having a rather humorous name, the band appears at all press functions and performances dressed in suit and tie, and attempts to answer all questions in a polite and serious manner. Wright told me that the general consensus of the group was that the band should stand out from crowd by not looking like folks just drinking in the bar, and that by dressing up and presenting a traditional single mic arrangement, they are showing respect for both the audience and the music. I could not argue with that.
If you go to a Henhouse Prowlers show, I think you will find a solid band playing in a well-rehearsed manner and presenting songs that deal with the tried and true standards of the genre, a - Pow'r Pickin'


Breaking Ground, 2013

Greg Cahill, producer

Verses, Chapters and Rhymes, 2011
Sally Van Meter, producer

A Dark Rumor, 2009
Don Stiernberg, producer

Henhouse Prowlers, 2006
Henhouse Prowlers, producer



Nine years in the making, Chicagos Henhouse Prowlers have built a reputation for hard work and non-stop touring, playing music inspired by the roots of bluegrass while branching out into a sound uniquely their own. From lightning fast picking, to sentimental balladsplaying storied original material, traditional songs, and contemporary coversThe Prowlers live show leaves no one wanting.

Their most recent album Breaking Ground grew out of collaboration and time well spent, having completed it within months of multiple cross-country US tours and the bands third trip to Europe. Produced by Greg Cahill (Grammy nominated band-leader of Special Consensus), with special guests Josh Williams (of Rhonda Vincent and the Rage) and Anders Beck (of Greensky Bluegrass), this recording packs punch after punch.

The band was recently selected by the US State Dept. to spend a month in West Africa and will be headed back to Europe in 2014 for their largest tour abroad to date. The Prowlers continue to push the envelope with their highly original songwriting, tight arrangements, and electrifying stage presence. With the bluegrass mantle on their back and the best fans in the world by their side, The Henhouse Prowlers are here to stay for a long, long time.