Tree To Grow: The Lone Bellow Fan Community Group
Although there isn't any activity on this blog, there is a lot going on in our Facebook group! Come join us:
Tree To Grow: The Lone Bellow Fan Community Group
Hey, y'all! We are coming out of blog hiatus to help our beloved band get their latest single, "May You Be Well," some major radio play. Bobbie's husband created this tool to make it super easy to tweet song requests to the major AAA (Adult Alternative Album) radio stations, with the goal of getting them to play the song as often as possible. To use the tool, just click on the "select a radio station" drop down menu below, choose the station closest to you, and you will be taken to a pre-composed Twitter message that tags the station and requests the song. There are three randomly generated messages, but feel free to edit and make them your own. Just be sure to refresh the page in order to get a different message. Also, feel free to use it regularly, just be respectful and don't spam a radio station!
We are targeting these stations specifically because more radio play will get the song on the AAA Billboard charts, which results in more national attention, notice from record labels, TV appearances, ticket sales, and more shows for us. This is all good stuff for the band, so let's do our part! Feel free to leave a comment here letting us know you Tweeted a request.
And if Twitter isn't your thing, you can find email, phone, and Facebook information for the radio stations by goinghere and scrolling down to the chart below the video.
Taking A Break
Last weekend marked our 30th time to see The Lone Bellow live. If you had told either of us three years ago that this little, unknown band was going to change our lives, we would have thought you were crazy. It probably sounds a bit melodramatic, but it is, in fact, true. We’ve lost countless hours of sleep, traveled thousands of miles, planned vacations around tour schedules, and engaged in a whole lot of other shenanigans just to be able to make it to one more concert.
We know to the average person we seem crazy. We probably are crazy. But we can’t help it. Live music, and The Lone Bellow in particular, just makes us feel good. Indescribably good. More than that, though, is the sense of community we get when we are part of the audience. We have met so many people through our love of this band, and something feels really special about getting to experience shows with them over and over again.
When we started this website, we wanted a way to express our gratitude for TLB, gush over the many ways they mesmerize us, and create a space for like-minded fans who wanted to share in those things too. In short, we wanted a sort of online version of what we experience at shows.
Of course, 30 shows is a lot of shows. Not nearly enough for us, but a lot. While our love of the band and our level of crazy is apparently without limit, our ability to keep this website going and to keep writing about TLB is not. We will forever be loyal to our beloved TLB, but we have decided to take a break (at least for the foreseeable future) from adding any new material to this site. Instead, we are transitioning to a Facebook group, which we hope will allow for more interaction among fans - a place where everyone is welcome to share all things TLB related (and we will still be on Twitter, too). Thanks so much to those of you who have been following us, and please come join us in the Facebook group as we continue on this epic journey!
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but Lone Bellow concerts are not the only shows we go to. They are our favorites, of course, and we will cancel pretty much anything to make it to one of their shows, but we do enjoy other music, too. After all, we owe our discovery of The Lone Bellow to our habit of seeing as much live music as we can.
This evening we are making our way to see Brandi Carlile and The Avett Brothers, a pairing we have long waited for. Rumor has it these two bands have been performing "Murder in the City" together on this tour. We are preparing ourselves for weepiness.
The other day we were talking about this upcoming show and how much we love when musicians perform together, even if it does leave us in tears. And apparently we are unable to talk about music and/or concerts without bringing it around to The Lone Bellow. During their last tour, we loved seeing them close out their shows by bringing Escondido back onto the stage for a group performance of Levon Helm's, "I Shall Be Released." Although we were lucky enough to witness this four times, we would have gladly welcomed more.
We have two more Lone Bellow shows on our calendars right now (totally not enough) and we can't wait to see what kind of collaborations may be in store. In the meantime, we decided on a few "dream collaborations," songs and/or musicians we would love to see The Lone Bellow take on. We would love to hear yours, too. Head over to our Facebook page and find out what we picked, and let us know what you would love to see.
TBT: The Lone Bellow in England
We will be getting our recaps of this week's The Lone Bellow shows up soon, but in the meantime we wanted to share our friend, Di Holmes's, gorgeous pictures of the band's shows in London, St. Albans, and Brighton. Thanks for sharing them with us, Di!
Islington Assembly Hall, London
I’m writing this on my flight home from Amsterdam, where I had joined my husband for his work trip. It was well timed to match up with part of The Lone Bellow’s European tour (I STRONGLY encouraged my very supportive husband to try to make that happen), so I was able to take a quick flight over to London to see my very favorite band perform at Islington Assembly Hall in London on Friday night.
Often, after I haven’t seen the band for a while (in this case it had been over two months!), I worry that perhaps I won’t find the next show to be as fantastic or exciting. But I am always proven wrong. Even though I’ve seen them perform each song most likely more than a dozen times, even though I know I will probably get sprinkled with more of Zach’s sweat from standing over me on stage during “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home,” or that they will probably break into some wonderfully terrible song from the 90s some time during the night, or that Kanene and Jason will be super cute together at some point, the band is able to make it feel fresh each time. It amazes me that they are able to put so much of themselves into their performance, and share so much of their vulnerability, every single night to connect so deeply with the audience.
Friday night was no different. I’ve seen Zach channel a Southern preacher before, but here he was in full on revivalist mode, at one point staring out into the crowd in a sweaty frenzied way, chanting, “I’m feeling the spirit in here, I’m feeling the spirit in here!” There was definitely some kind of spirit in the room and the crowd was feeling it, too. As always, The Lone Bellow had us in the palm of their hands throughout the show, bringing us up with “Leave Me” and “Take My Love,” then bringing us back down to that deeply emotional place with “Marietta” and “Fake Roses.”
After another series of upbeat songs, including Brian’s “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home,” (yes, plenty of Zach’s sweat rained down on me), Jason and Justin left the stage so Zach, Kanene, and Brian could do the acoustic set that always brings the room to (near) silence. Kanene set the tone for the beauty of the moment with “Call to War,” and then they performed Brian’s “Watch Over Us,” which held the crowd rapt. They finished up with an acoustic version of “Looking For You,” with the disco ball shimmering throughout the room. It was gorgeous, and left me feeling spent.
But leave it to Brian to lighten the mood by doing a quick guitar riff of Springsteen’s “Dancing In the Dark,” and the crowd cheered with encouragement. After a chorus of the song, followed by deep, throaty chants of “Bruce! Bruce!” we were all ready for the slightly more energetic, but still full of feeling, “You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional.”
During the second half of the set, Zach introduced the band. He told the story of how he and Brian met at a talent show as college freshman. Brian was on crutches due to a football injury, but got up to sing Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be.” During the song, his guitar broke, so he just set it down and finished the song a cappella. Zach decided then and there that he needed to meet that guy on stage. Brian chimed in to share that he and Zach made a bet that he would have to sing the song any time Zach told the story, so the disco ball started up again and we all sang along. When Brian kept going after the first chorus, Zach cringed and begged him to stop, saying he never has to sing it again. We’ll see about that…
When he introduced Kanene, he said her favorite band is Savage Garden, so we all sang along to “Truly Madly Deeply.” Kanene got him back by telling us Zach’s favorite song is “Barbie Girl,” and Zach sheepishly sang the chorus – “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world, life in plastic, it’s fantastic …” Fortunately the audience knew much of the rest of the song to help him out.
They ended the set with “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold,” leaving the crowd absolutely riled up before waving and leaving the stage. When they returned for their encore, the crowd spontaneously broke into the chorus of “Green Eyes.” We were definitely feeling that spirit! They brought back the emotions a bit with my personal favorite, “Tree To Grow.” I’m always appreciative when they include that song on the set list. Then they finished up the night with their title track, “Then Came the Morning.” Zach divided the room in half, asking Brian’s side to follow along with him, and Kanene’s side to follow along with her. We all “ahhh-ahhhh-ed” to create the background, while Zach provided the rousing lyrics, complete with foot stomps in all the right places, then left behind his mic to approach the audience and conduct us to sing along with Kanene and Brian, to end the song, and the night, on the perfect note. The rest of the band members joined Zach at the front of the stage to say goodnight and take a much-deserved bow. And then it was over. Until the next time.
Finally, I believe we have written before that meeting other fans has been one of the best parts of our “The Lone Bellow adventure,” but I feel compelled to mention it again. There is something about The Lone Bellow that inspires devotion from some truly wonderful people, and I am grateful to meet them at almost every show. Perhaps it has something to do with waiting in line for doors to open, or sticking around after the show to say hello and thanks to the band, that facilitates these encounters, as it is likely the most serious fans who are willing to do these things, especially in lousy weather (I’m having flashbacks to Portland, ME, at 3degrees F!). So we often start chatting, and these fellow fans are always so lovely and interesting. Sometimes we keep in touch after the shows, sometimes we don’t, but I am always grateful for that sense of community we share. And I love the friends we have made on this journey, and look forward to making many more in the shows ahead.
Dave Abare Reviews The Lone Bellow
Dave Abare, who writes over at his blog Rambling Abare, got in touch with us to share his review of The Lone Bellow's show at House of Independents in Asbury Park, NJ, last week. It was his first time seeing the band perform live, and his reaction was just what you would expect. He writes, "The singer/songwriter Marc Cohn has a line in his hit 'Walking in Memphis' where he answers a woman asking if he's a Christian where he replies, 'M'am I am tonight' and that's how you feel experiencing The Lone Bellow in a live setting. They aren't a 'Christian band' nor do the majority of their lyrics talk a lot about God but when you're in their presence, hearing them perform and taking in the majesty of the moment, you're a believer in whatever they are preaching."
You can read his entire review here. Thanks for sharing with us, Dave! We'll see you in Northampton!
Yesterday, while attending The Lone Bellow Happy Hour set with people whom we love, Paris was under attack. Of course, we didn’t know it was happening. We didn’t know that while we were listening to our favorite musicians discuss the many stories they’ve heard from fans- stories of how their music has healed people, brought them out of despair, and made them feel alive again- people some 3000 miles away from us were being violently targeted while they were in a concert hall, undoubtedly enjoying the musicians they came to see, undoubtedly feeling like they were experiencing something special together, in the way that only live music allows. When we heard the news out of Paris, we were devastated. And, as anyone who has been in a city that has been under attack can tell you, it is impossible not to recall what you have also been through, to know too well the panic and chaos, the worry, the endless sirens, the waiting for the news that you are safe again.
The very first time we saw The Lone Bellow we had just been through this ourselves, as it was just after the marathon bombing. Their music was undeniably a part of our own healing. They were a new discovery for us, this largely unknown band, in a tiny space, reminding us that music is a gift to be shared, a simple and meaningful way to connect us to one another. And here we were again, in NYC, a city that also knows the sorrow and fear of being under attack, with these same musicians, in need, again, of their words and music.
We can tell you that just like in previous shows this band was flawless. We can tell you that we cried, we laughed, we danced, and sang loudly. We are grateful, as always, for this band and everything they do. We want to give you all of the details from the NYC shows, but we’re just not quite ready. Perhaps in a few days time we will be. For right now, though, we want to hold these memories close to our hearts, as we are holding the people of Paris close to hearts, hopeful that they will soon see light from the darkness, and that they, too, will heal.
We are writing this from the road. We have completely lost all control and decided last night, at the Boston show, that we really need to be at both NYC shows. We had already made plans for Friday, but since we literally cannot get enough of seeing The Lone Bellow on stage, we are adding another one to our list.
We started this week in Vermont where we met up with another loyal fan (Hi, Paul!) and settled in for the happy hour set. These acoustic sets before the show are incredible. We really hope they continue to offer this on their next tour because it is such a neat way to see and interact with the band.
One of the best things about getting to be part of the happy hour show is the Q & A they do with the audience. TLB has always been so gracious with their fans and these Q & A sessions are an extension of that. Even when the receive questions they've answered at previous shows, they are always completely courteous and respectful in their responses. Of course, they get asked all kinds of questions and these last two shows were no exception to that. We learned what music the band is currently listening to (it ranges from Ryan Adams’ 1989 to War on Drugs). Someone asked Brian about his Alabama shirt and after a brief discussion about that band’s influence on him, they broke into a cover of “Dixie Delight."
At the Boston happy hour, we learned about the first time each of them ever appeared on stage. Jason shared that he and Kanene competed against one another in their 8th grade talent show, but neither of them won. When asked what they thought about Spotify, Zach compared it to the aunt that always gives you the best presents, but isn’t a nice person to be around, and went on to describe it as a love-hate relationship. A moment of reverence came when someone asked the band about their first show in Boston, which was right after our city had been ordered to shelter in place because one of the suspects was still on the loose. That show was also our first time to see TLB live. It was such a cathartic and meaningful experience for us and it felt good to be able to personally thank the band for their performance that night. (We’ve written about that show here.)
As for the actual shows, there just are no words. We can say with certainty that both Burlington and Boston love TLB. While this was only our second time seeing the band in Vermont, the crowd was just as enthusiastic and energetic as the first time, and Boston crowds never disappoint. We love how much the audience seems to fuel the band’s performance.
As for the highlights: We are loving "Lovely in Blue," and hope to hear it on a future album. In Burlington, we were treated to a cover of CCR's "Long As I Can See The Light" (so much fun!), where the band was accompanied by Hugh Masterson and the members of Anderson East. Our favorite moment at the Boston show, although it's hard to pick just one, was when they performed "Looking For You," a song we love, but rarely hear performed live. It was breathtaking.
On a personal note, last night's show was my (Abra) 20th. I was so happy to have that happen in my hometown, and I can't wait for the next 20.
One of my favorite things about being an extreme Lone Bellow fan is meeting other extreme Lone Bellow fans, and making connections with people I wouldn’t normally have had the chance to know. One such fan is Skip, who we have now run into at many shows spanning both coasts, despite us all living on the East Coast!
Skip was at the Pittsburgh show this past Tuesday, and graciously agreed to write a recap of the happy hour that night, and share photos from happy hour and the show.
Is a happy hour still happy hour if booze is not being served? In the case of The Lone Bellow at The Rex Theatre on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, the answer is always yes! Serving host to an enthusiastic crowd of a dozen fans Zach, Brian, Kanene, Justin and Jason shared tails of TLB history, favorite fall movies and serenaded the crowd with classics and always fun to hear, new tunes. Plus it turned out to Brian Elmquist’s birthday which meant a hearty and loud Happy Birthday would be sung later in the evening.
Who We Are
We are Abra and Bobbie, two friends living in Boston who go to a lot of concerts together. We saw The Lone Bellow, having never heard of them, and could not believe our good fortune in discovering such talent. We now try to go by the "Four-Hour-Rule", meaning if we can get to a show within four hours, we will be there, hopefully right up front.