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Friday, February 8, 2013

Band to Watch in 2013: The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow is a Brooklyn-based trio soaked in folk, harmony, and awesomeness. They just released their self-titled debut album last month and are ready to take the world by storm. It's early but they are my hands down favorite to pull a meteoric rise like The Lumineers did last year. Now all they need is to have a song featured in 38 commercials and be featured in just about every rom-com's trailer and/or soundtrack.

Back in 2010, lead singer Zack Williams was looking for a place to play some songs he wrote and hone his skills when he approached his longtime friend, and future guitarist, Brian Elmquist about playing in the diner he worked. Another acquaintance, Kanene Pipkin, had just returned from spending time in Beijing and Williams asked if she would sing with them at the diner. Their chemistry transferred to their music and Williams recalls knowing they had something special within the first 3 songs played. It was that point he realized and decided he needed to focus on making music with what would soon be called The Lone Bellow.

Williams had unknowingly been penning songs for years. His wife had a tragic accident falling off of a horse and was feared she'd be paraplegic, best case scenario. Miraculously, after months of rehab she was able to walk again. Throughout this ordeal, Williams kept a journal of his thoughts to help him deal with the situation. His good friend, Caleb Clardy, who co-wrote "Teach Me To Know" suggested that he turn these rhythmic thoughts into songs. Williams then learned to play guitar and incorporated his folk, country, and gospel roots into the words he had laid to paper.

Fate would continue for the group as shortly after they played their debut show, they were contacted by recent Grammy winners The Civil Wars about opening for them at a gig in Philadelphia. Williams became friends with the duo during a show they played together as struggling artists. Shortly after, Civil Wars' producer Charlie Peacock met with the band and set them up in a recording studio. Three days and three nights later, the band had recorded 12 songs.

I highly recommend this album as it has been one of my favorites of this young year and has a steady spot in my rotation for the foreseeable future. There are aspects of recent folk hit-makers like The Lumineers and Civil Wars but also the indie folk darlings The Head and the Heart. The meaningful but fun songs and the male/female vocals playing off each other and harmonizing are truly magical. It's no coincidence that this trio came together and everything has fallen into place so quickly for them.

I look forward to many years of Lone Bellow albums and you should too. Now, get on the bandwagon and share with your friends. Look for them to swing through a venue near you as they are currently touring in support of Marcus Foster.

Check out one of my favorite tunes, "Bleeding Out," below...

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