Whether you are familiar with The Lone Bellow or hearing them for the first time, it’s hard not to get swept up by the songs of heartache and come out the other side lighter, a vibe they bring to so many of their tunes. The band is celebrating 10 years, and I first caught them at the (sorely missed) Way Over Yonder Fest from the Newport Folk folks in 2014. I’ve been a fan ever since.
The Brooklyn core of Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist (playing together since high school) and Kanene Pipkin lets their collective heart beat together, with support from Kanene’s husband, Jason on keys and bass. As an aside, she hit the stage for the band’s 2017 appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival seven months pregnant with their son.
At the second of two nights at The Troubadour in Los Angeles just recently, the band featured much of their superb new album Half Moon Light, as well as touchstones of their other releases. From the always rousing “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold” deeper in the set to the pin-drop quiet of a few bare acoustic tunes, including “Tree to Grow”, the audience sang and listened throughout the evening. It was pretty cool and more than a little stirring. Two horns that would come and go were a comforting accent, especially on the set (and new album) opener, “I Can Feel You Dancing”.
The Lone Bellow is a band that started out special, and just keeps getting better, and anyone there at the Troub for the run got that. Bonus points for Laura Jean Anderson opening with a guitar/keys, drums, and bass set of spunk and thoughtfulness.