After honing its Country/Roots/Americana skills as Zach Williams and the Bellow, the band (with Williams on guitar and vocals, Kanene Pipkin on mandolin, bass and vocals and Brian Elmquist, also on guitar and vocals) rechristened itself The Lone Bellow. The group added a full complement of backing players and notched a number of impressive opening gigs, including shows with The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars and Dwight Yoakam. The band’s association with The Civil Wars afforded the members the opportunity to meet producer Charlie Peacock, who ultimately produced their wildly successful and expansively transcendent 2013 self-titled debut, which cracked the top third of Billboard’s Top 200 chart and wound up on a significant number of annual best-of lists, joining the likes of The Lumineers and Mumford & Sons.
Late last year, The Lone Bellow released the first two songs to emerge from the sessions that the band had done with The National guitarist (and Cincinnati native) Aaron Dessner, “Then Came the Morning” and its follow-up, “Fake Roses.” The band’s first single became the title of the album, and Then Came the Morning was released in January to nearly universal acclaim, with a good many critics noting the new album’s increased diversity, depth and textural qualities. At least part of that depth was accomplished by Dessner’s technique of planting various mics throughout the studio space to capture the vocal bleed of the group’s powerful three-part harmonies around the room, as well as his brother Bryce’s string and brass arrangements.
Fans responded by pushing Then Came the Morning into Billboard’s Top 50 albums, and critics were generally enraptured by The Lone Bellow’s ability to transform its passion for its avowed influences into a singular sound that is more foundational than reverential. Over the past five years, The Lone Bellow has gone from strength to strength and seems destined for even greater heights going forward.
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