I once told myself a tale…a grand tale, really…one in which I would stop writing posts on Americana music and my weird/undying/never-ending/verging-on-creepy obsession with it.
I swear it sounded real when I told it, but as it turns out, ’twas nothing more than a myth.
The Lone Bellow is my new band and they are Americana in the best and finest sense of the word — hazy, nostalgic, raw.
I admit, they’ve got a lot in common with their contemporaries: The Civil Wars [may they rest in peace], Mumford & Sons, Lady Antebellum, The Giving Tree Project and The Lumineers.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Because you listen, and while you get it — you get the southern, woodsy soul they’re laying on you — you’re acutely aware that something…something is different here…
So, like any burgeoning fan, you research. And here’s what you come up with:
…they’re from Brooklyn — I mean, no one saw that one coming. Brooklyn Country Music…is not even a thing. But positing northern roots in decidedly southern sounds is perhaps the secret sauce?
…there’s a banjo and a mandolin in this outfit — whoa! crafty! Is this the trick?
And you furrow your brow, scrunch your nose and try to make sense of it all — how it works, why it works, what about it keeps you craving more…but then you just sort of get lost in it — the banjos plinking, the voices rolling, the contemplative piano cords…cording?
Anyway, the lyrics wash over you, swell in your chest, and you give in.
That’s what makes them different, irresistible. They’re open and available and endearing in ways that are largely, and disappointingly, unfamiliar in today’s music landscape.
Like that song, that hurts. That’s tears in your craft beer, right there, and it makes as much sense in the depths of a Brooklyn winter as it does as a Music City soundtrack.
I love Zach Williams’ voice. I love mandolin player Kanene Pipkin’s smokey harmonies a bit more. And I love that guitarist Brian Elmquist so clearly understands the pluck of each song’s emotional center.
There’s not a whole lot more to say. It’s a simple outfit singing simple songs about simple emotions that all the simple people [namely, us] just get.