Fall — at least for me — is time for sad folk music. As leaves are painted warmer, and breezes are swept colder, that somber sweet-spot of brittle-strummed melancholy whispers endlessly from my earbuds. And as these songs are often paired with hopeless, dismal lyrics, this seasonal soundtrack tends to be more than a little depressing.
Enter: The Lone Bellow’s exuberantly optimistic vein of folk, which will have none of this dispirited business. Though in no way strangers to feelings of pain and devastation, members Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist, and Kanene Donehy Pipkin have an infectious ability to channel their wounds into earnest hopefulness.
The result is a sound that lets you wallow — but only if we’re all wallowing together in unison. A sound that says yes, life is very often the absolute worst, and don’t worry, we are going to croak out the intense heartache of it all. But we are also going to yell and shout and stomp and clap up a storm of unbridled joy.
All of which these moods were summed up immediately at today’s sold out Free at Noon, as the trio opened their acoustic set by belting the bluesy prayer, “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy,” off their newest album, Walk Into a Storm.
Watching these three play together makes blatantly apparent that the group’s skill at exuding such togetherness starts within themselves. Though not biologically related, there’s no other manner to describe the band’s visible bond than being one of familial strength. With seamless harmonies alone portraying an undeniable in-syncness, The Lone Bellow’s live performances unmask a resemblance of three close-knit siblings.
Older siblings, in particular, who are mature enough to share the spotlight. Because although each individual voice of the trio is more than strong enough to carry solo endeavors, they’re not selfish. They know when to lend one voice as lead, and hone back the others’ as support. And not in a way that looks forced or contrived, but in a genuine, loving kind of way that materializes through proud glances and smiles bouncing between one another.
Plus, you can’t be siblings without brother and sisterly jabs of affection, which Donehy Pipkin provided via a quip towards Williams disheveled do, saying, “I feel like the radio is missing out on your hair right now,” or when they each joined in sporadically pointing at one another in sly fun. Providing this full picture of a family, it’s hard to leave their set not thinking of your own, or the warmth of being welcomed into this new one.
If you weren’t able to snatch tickets for today’s show before they sold out, or you’re one of the many rejoining the trio for an “extended full encore” as Williams dubbed it, at their Union Transfer tonight with support from The Wild Reeds. Find more info on tickets to the show at the XPN Concert Calendar, and check out photos from today’s set below.
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- FREE AT NOON