Order the new release, Then Came The Morning by The Lone Bellow, and get a limited* autographed CD booklet with purchase!
Then Came the Morning, the second album by the Southern-born, Brooklyn-based indie-folk trio the Lone Bellow, opens with a crest of churchly piano, a patter of drums, and a fanfare of voices harmonizing like a sunrise. It's a powerful introduction, enormous and overwhelming, as Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist, and Kanene Pipkin testify mightily to life's great struggles and joys, heralding the morning that dispels the dark night: "Then came the morning! It was bright, like the light that you kept from your smile!" Working with producer Aaron Dessner of the National, the Lone Bellow has created a sound that mixes folk sincerity, gospel fervor, even heavy metal thunder, but the heart of the band is harmony: three voices united in a lone bellow.
Dessner and the Lone Bellow spent two weeks recording at Dreamland in upstate New York, a nineteenth-century church that had been converted into a homey studio. The singers found the space to inspire the emotional gravity necessary for the material and the acoustics they were looking for. (For Kanene, Dreamland had one other bonus: "I'm a big Muppets fan, and it looks exactly like the church where Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem lived.")
Aaron set them up in a circle in what had once been the sanctuary, with microphones hanging in the rafters to capture the sound of their voices bleeding together. Most of the vocals were recorded in single takes, a tactic that adds urgency to songs like "Heaven Don't Call Me Home" and "If You Don't Love Me." "There were a couple of times when somebody sang the wrong word or hit a bad note, and we just had to keep going," says Zach, who says that recording "Marietta" in particular was daunting-especially the moment near the end when he hits an anguished high note, bends it even higher, and holds it for an impossibly long time. It's a startling display of vocal range, but it's also almost unbearably raw in its emotional honesty.
"'Marietta' is probably the darkest song on the whole record," Zach explains, "and it's based on something that happened between my wife and me. The band was getting ready to record that song when all of a sudden my wife showed up with our youngest baby. It was a great surprise, a beautiful moment. So I was able to go out and sing that song, knowing she was there to help me carry the moment."
"These are true stories," says Brian. "These aren't things we made up. We tried to write some songs that had nothing to do with our personal stories, but we just didn't respond to them. But we're best buds, so we know each others' personal stuff and trust each other to figure out what needs to be said and how to say it." Case in point: Brian wrote "Call to War" about his own struggles during his twenties, but gave the song to Kanene to sing. "The content is painful and brutal," she says, "but the imagery, the vocals, they build something delicate and ethereal. That kind of contrast illuminates the true beauty and power of a song."
Says Brian, "We do this one thing together, and we carry each other. Hopefully that makes the listener want to be a part of it. It becomes a communal thing, which means that there's never a sad song to sing. It's more a celebration of the light and the dark."
The Lone Bellow's North American Tour Dates:
- 1/17 - Cayamo Cruise 2015 - Miami, FL
- 2/12 - Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA
- 2/23 - Port City Music Hall - Portland, ME
- 2/24 - ArtsRiot - Burlington, VT
- 2/26 - Petit Campus - Montreal, Canada
- 2/27 - Lee's Palace - Toronto, Canada
- 2/28 - Stage AE - Pittsburgh, PA
- 3/1 - Radio Radio - Indianapolis, IN
- 3/3 - Turf Club - St Paul, MN
- 3/4 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
- 3/6 - Exit/In - Nashville, TN
- 3/7 - Headliners Music Hall - Louisville, KY
- 3/8 - Old Rock House - St Louis, MO
- 3/10 - WorkPlay Theatre - Birmingham, AL
- 3/11 - Terminal West - Atlanta, GA
- 3/13 - The Hamilton - Washington, DC
- 3/14 - The Southern - Charlottesville, VA
- 3/15 - The MusicNOW Festival - Cincinnati, OH
- 3/24 - Underground Arts - Philadelphia, PA
- 3/25 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
- 3/26 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY
*Offer valid only with purchase of Then Came The Morning. This special offer is valid for both domestic and international orders. CDs shipping with promotional items are limited to (5) per customer. Autographed CD booklets will be available while supplies last, newburycomics.com will post information when autographed booklets are sold out.