Earlier this week we premiered the session video of our glorious afternoon spent with our own freakishly good, home town folk outfit, The Lone Bellow. If there's an up and coming band destined for bigger things than this trio, we'd love to meet them. The music Zack Williams, Kanene Pipkin, and Brian Elmquist create sends crazy sensations down the spine, seeped in heart-gushing emotions and delivered in some of the most profound and moving three part harmonies you'll ever hear. Not surprisingly, a crowd gathered around the band pretty quickly during our session with them in Washington Square Park. But in addition to the band sharing their uplifting folk rock with us, the three principle members also struck us with their story together; one rooted in this city, once plagued by dark moments, and now ultimately providing a path to follow their dreams.
What's most apparent is how all three members seem supremely aware of the power of music and the responsibilities that come with it. They talk fondly of fans with lyrics inked across their skin, or performances where they sensed the importance of the moment. "You want to try and make something that's worthwhile," confirms Zack Williams.
The city, it seems has a big role in that process. "The great thing about New York City is it kind of spits out things that aren't done well, so you know if what you're doing is no good very quickly," Williams says. That means the band would abandoned songs high and dry if they didn't rouse their audience. What's left was a highly tuned set list that ultimately became the band's debut album.
That album is devastatingly beautiful...one of the purest forms of emotion released this year. But as titles like "Two Sides of Lonely" and "You Don't Love Me Like You Used To" suggest, such music, like a lot of great music, is rooted in a dark place. "A good melody, Country music just in particular, I feel like has always been a safe haven for some of the sadder songs that have been written," said Williams. "These are sad songs that come from a really hard time in life and I just needed to hide them somewhere."
As the music finds bigger and bigger audiences, it's getting harder to hide away that emotion though...something that can be a little overwhelming for the trio. "Every night is a weight because it takes you back to dark times in your life," he continued. "But it's also worth it to sing and be a part of that moment with a group of strangers in some city somewhere." There are also happier moments, of course. "It's just like life...everything you need, the darks and the lights, to paint a beautiful painting."
That painting is catching on and the band has taken notice. "We're seeing all these people and meeting all these people and hearing all these stories," says guitarist Brian Elmquist. "It's inspiring to us to just be able to do this for a living and [to see] people coming out to our shows to help us do that. We just want to honor them in our art and with our time."
We think you should do the same for this very fine folk trio. Have a look at our session and if you like what you hear (how could you not?), pick up the band's debut and catch them the next time they swing through your town.