The Lone Bellow Brought Rich Harmonies To Lincoln Hall

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 6, 2015 4:00PM

The Brooklyn-based trio, The Lone Bellow, delivered an intense performance during a sold-out show at Lincoln Hall Wednesday night. The style of their music is an unfiltered Americana à la folk-country that deeply respects the traditions and historical foundation of these genres. The Georgia roots of Zach Williams and fellow guitarist, Brian Elmquist, comes through in every chord and in lyrics that discuss loss, love and renewal. Virginia-born Kanene Donehey Pipkin plays a mean mandolin and her voice feels as if it is the guiding force in most moments in their songs.

Their stage presence energized the crowd through their rich and enveloping harmonies and strong musicianship from start to finish. The amazing thing about The Lone Bellow is how attuned they are to one another, their voices fitting together perfectly with their individual ranges creating beautifully textured harmonies.

There were a several highlights during their set, but one of the best moments was Pipkin’s rendition of “Slip Sliding Away.” Her voice is soft, deep and velvety and it re-energized this Paul Simon song, giving it a feminine mystique to send this classic to a whole new level. The room was transfixed by her voice and the individual performance was a wonderful anchor to the show as a whole.

The Lone Bellow were always engaged with the audience, asking them to waltz—Williams wanting the atmosphere of the Lincoln Park venue to feel like a “dirty saloon.” Williams' humorous engagement with the crowd continued when he led the trio in a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” turning this saccharin pop song into a soulful tribute, showing off their ability to adapt so quickly and without any missteps.

At Williams’ and Elmquist’s urging, Pipkin delivered a smoldering and textured performance of “Button,” a song that opens sounding like the swinging style of Squirrel Nut Zippers meets Loretta Lynn. The lyrics convey a narrative outlining the frustrations of love as the speaker repeats, “And I wanna love you but you just want to lie.” As the show started to wind down, they invited opener, Odessa, to join them in creating a fun-loving and improvised jam session, that again spotlighted their love and enjoyment of making music and sharing their joy with one another and the audience.

The Lone Bellow's self-titled debut album was released in 2013 and their new release, Then Came the Morning, shows even more growth, making them a band to watch as they give acts such as Mumford and Sons and The Civil Wars some steep competition.