Review | The Lone Bellow – Self-Titled
by Ryan Doyon, a music loving, world traveling, beer drinking, hockey fanatic. If you're in a band then he wants to know about it.
Georgia native Zach Williams began songwriting in 2005 during a time of family crisis and learned to play guitar to help put his emotional outpouring to song. Unknown to Williams at the time he was creating the music that would eventually become the groundwork for his solo effort Zach Williams & The Bellow. With friends and family by his side Williams was Brooklyn bound, with a newly profound outlook on life and eager for a fresh start. In 2010 Brian Elmquist and Kanene Pipkin joined the songwriter as he was trying out new material, and the once solo artist became a bandmate in the newly christened The Lone Bellow.
The band’s debut is a glorious, 11-song, testimonial to the power of hope and redemption, infused with soulful Southern warmth and blended perfectly between hand-clapping gospel and foot-stopping country. “Green Eyes and A Heart of Gold” kicks off the album in triumphant fashion as the trio harmoniously belts out “Green eyes and a heart of gold/All the money’s gone and the house is cold/And it’s alright,” telling the listener than despite the hardship one must endure there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
The second track, “Tree to Grow,” speaks to being a newcomer and the difficulties of transplanting roots into new soil. Much like the novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn the song tells a tale of finding the will to survive, to stay and fight the good fight and embracing the challenge to dig in deep while protecting those you love. Williams sings “I’ll never leave/I’ll always stay/I swear on all that I keep safe” with such earnest compassion that you can’t help but feel that love truly does conquer all.
The songs on the self-titled release are a road map of emotional travel, swinging back and forth between quiet sorrow and unbridled hope. “Two Sides of Lonely” and “You Never Need Nobody” pack a powerful, one-two punch to the listener’s senses; the first being a melodious uppercut of lovelorn isolation and the latter hitting you with gospel-tinged pleading for affection and acceptance. While this impassioned appeal rings loud and true throughout the album it manages to steer clear of falling into any one category of style or sound. The trio effortlessly blends each of their own musical influences, while weaving together a story of faith in family and friendship through powerful voice and experienced musical composition.
The tail end of the album brings us to the new single “Bleeding Out” a rousing, sing-a-long, kick-in-the-pants type of number perfect for gathering up belongings and putting aside worry to hit the road in search of your own salvation. The soulful liberation continues with the rollicking “Teach Me to Know” and closes with the rocking swagger of “The One You Should’ve Let Go.” A fiery end fitting for an album meant to pull on heartstrings and ignite long lost confidence.
The Lone Bellow has already accumulated praise from music writers everywhere and with the long-awaited release of the debut album it is my guess that the well-deserved ovations will continue to pour in for a long time to come. The album is released today through iTunes and will be available in stores January 22nd. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
The Lone Bellow Tour Dates:
Jan 21 Los Angeles, CA at Hotel Café
Jan 24 Montclair, NJ at Wellmont Theater w/Dwight Yoakam
Jan 25 Mashantucket, CT at Foxwoods Resort & Casino at MGM Grand w/Dwight Yoakam
Feb 5 New York, NY at Bowery Ballroom (Album Release Show)
Feb 12 Philadelphia, PA at Theather of The Living Arts w/ To Write Love On Her Arms, Heavy & Light
Feb 13 New York, NY at Irving Plaza w/ To Write Love On Her Arms, Heavy & Light
Feb 14 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA w/ To Write Love On Her Arms, Heavy & Light