The Lone Bellow offered us a little teaser last summer when they opened for country-pop sensation Maren Morris at Red Butte Garden (she hand-selected them). That seven-song set whet our appetite for the main course, a full-set, KRCL Presented show at the Commonwealth Room on Feb. 5, 2023. The band is touring in support of their just-released Love Songs For Losers, an 11-song gem that’s rising in the charts. Recorded in the supposedly haunted house of the late Roy Orbison (if you believe in that sort of thing), the end result is a highly spirited record. The single “Honey” has already hit #2 on the Americana Singles chart and the band is sure to fill their setlist with a hardy sampling of their great new material.
The Lone Bellow, a trio of southerners who met in New York City in 2012, play contemporary country/folk or what they term Brooklyn Country. Featured musicians include Zach Williams on guitar and lead vocals, Kanene Donehey Pipkin on mandolin, bass, keyboard and vocals and Brian Elmquist on guitar and vocals. The trio inked a record deal with Sony imprint Descendant Records and released their debut self-titled album which reached #64 on the Billboard Top 200 in 2013. People magazine placed the record in their top ten albums of 2013. The record provided listeners with a visceral musical experience of alluring harmonies and impassioned lyrics. “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold,” is an exuberant song about how a strong relationship can get you through hard times. The trio sings “Green eyes and a heart of gold. All the money’s gone and the house is cold and it’s alright.” Their sophisticated blend of country/folk/rock/gospel/blues appeals to fans of both heartfelt country ballads and urbane folkish grit.
The band stayed in the center lane of Americana for their next two records. Stunning three-part harmonies and rich tales of love, loss, pain and joy remained the secret formula that earned them an Americana Music Award nomination for best group in 2015. A move to Nashville in 2016 didn’t untether their musical moorings and years on the road only strengthened their place as roof-raising roots revivalists.
On Feb. 7, 2020, The Lone Bellow hit a home run with the release of their most creatively daring and emotionally intelligent, full-length album Half Moon Light. Then, the global pandemic abruptly halted their touring schedule. Undeterred, the band continued to make music. In 2021 they released a deluxe edition of Half Moon Light, expanding the original release from 15 songs to 21 (what we called a double album back in the vinyl days). Despite the pandemic, the album soared to #4 on the Billboard US Folk Album charts and #11 on the Billboard Top 200. The first single “Count on Me” seemed ready-made for the emotional rollercoaster we were all on (though it was written pre-pandemic) with soothing harmonies chanting like a mantra “Count on me, if I can count on you.” The line “Let it break you. Let it help you lay down what you held on to” also resonated as many of us used the pandemic to take stock of what really matters in life. The song reached #1 on the Americana Singles chart. Its companion release “Dried Up River” is an equally emotional anthem that found its audience, despite the lockdown. It made it to #1 in the charts.
Opening for The Lone Bellow is Tow’rs, a Flagstaff-based band featuring husband and wife duo Kyle and Gretta Miller who provide winsome folk harmonies. Their songs blend personal and spiritual growth with a collective sense of neighborliness and nature. Their sound reminds me of a stripped-down version of Elephant Revival with their breezy melodies and Elysian vocals. They’ll be the perfect warm-up for a blissful night of soul-regenerating folk-rock music.
Fans of the Avett Brothers, CSNY, Lumineers, Jamestown Revival, Nathaniel Rateliff, or Watchhouse won’t want to miss this show. I will pair the evening’s music with a refreshing Yacht Rock Juice Box Hazy IPA from Proper Brewing.
- Who: The Lone Bellow w/ Tow’rs
- What: KRCL Presents: The Love Songs For Losers Tour
- Where: The Commonwealth Room
- When: February 5, 2023
- Tickets and Info: thestateroompresents.com and KRCL.org
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