The Native Howl

The Native Howl is a band from Leonard, Michigan. Their music is a blend of bluegrass and thrash metal, using guitar, banjo, electric bass and drums.


The band was formed by Alex Holycross and Jake Sawicki. In 2012, the pair began playing metal-tinged folk music together. In 2013, calling themselves The Native Howl, they released their first EP, The Revolution's Dead, which was recorded in Holycross' newly renovated studio.

With the addition of Mark Chandler on bass and Joshua LeMeiux on drums, they soon developed a new genre which they called Thrash Grass. John Lawless of Bluegrass Today described this as "an effective mashup of thrash metal and banjo driven grass". Together with The Gasoline Gypsies, The Native Howl toured around Michigan in 2014, and in 2015 the band released an album, Inukshuk, in CD format.

In 2017, the band performed at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival. With the release of their third album, "Thrash Grass", they charted in the Billboard bluegrass charts for eight consecutive weeks, peaking at number four.

In June of 2019, the band released a cover/medley song entitled "Harvester of Constant Sorrow" melding Metallica's "Harvester of Sorrow" and the Bluegrass song "Man of Constant Sorrow" made famous by the movie O' Brother Where Art Thou.


Awards and nominations

  • The Native Howl's flagship album, Thrash Grass, peaked at number four on the US Billboard Bluegrass chart January 21, 2017.
  • Thrash Grass was followed up with a dual disk album, Out of the Garden and Into the Darkness, peaking at number three on US Billboard Bluegrass chart August 11, 2018.
  • Nomination to the 2017 Detroit Music Awards
  • Blue Water Music Awards Album of the Year and Best Import 2017