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The Lone Bellow makes joy palpable

Paradise Rock Club, Boston, November 17, 2022

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Throughout their decade-long career, The Lone Bellow have been a model of consistency both when over the course of five albums and live performances.

And with another winning album, "Love Songs for Losers," out just two weeks ago, not much has changed for The Lone Bellow on those two counts.

Of course, that all starts with the principals - Zach Williams, who handles the majority of the lead vocals; Kanene Pipkin on guitars and mandolin and Brian Elmquist, who doubles as lead guitarist. Williams' soulful, elastic voice has always served him well. He's emotive without being over the top. And that was true from the start with "I'm in Love."

Pipkin being the only female, of course, lends a different tonality to the Bellows' sound, and she was more than a capable singer in her own right as evidenced by her somewhat torchy version on "The Cost of Living" (and also played solid mandolin).

Elmquist may not be at the same level of Williams, but he, too, showed his vocal chops with a strong take on "Bleeding Out," while seated at a piano. Pipkin also switched it up by playing keyboards on the song.

One of the beauties of The Lone Bellow is the breadth and depth of the principles along with having songs that incorporate varying elements instrumentally, vocally and in song construction.

The best of The Lone Bellow, however, is when all three joined on harmonies and vocals, just bringing the songs to a whole other level of beauty. The first two encore songs – "May You Be Well" and "Watch Over Us" – underscored that. With Elmquist playing acoustic guitar and assuming lead vocals and the three around a single mic, the religious overtones of the song were heartfelt to say the least.

One part of The Lone Bellow that has changed was that the trio veered towards more of a rock sound– louder and less of an Americana thing going on – starting with the opener, "Wherever Your Heart Is." While rocking more worked, that was not what separates them from the pack.

But fortunately The Lone Bellow's ability to put it out there in fine from concert to concert and release to release remains intact. The joy of the music was palpable.

New York City sibling trio Bailen opened with a set that was complimentary to The Lone Bellow, particularly given the harmonies on which Bailen excelled. Dormant on the music release front since 2019 and getting ready to release a new disc this coming May, twins Daniel and David and sister Julia Bailen highlighted several unreleased songs.

The overall results were mixed. A few songs stood out, but most failed to light a spark. Interestingly, during The Long Bellow's set, Bailen came out to do one more song entirely on its own. Add generous in describing The Lone Bellow.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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