We have kept in touch, and when we found out Paul and Diane would be seeing The Lone Bellow perform at the Americana Music Festival, we decided to take advantage of their proximity, and Paul's journalism background, and asked him to write up a short review for this site. Paul has graciously provided us with the following report:
My wife and I had been kicking around the question all week.
After enjoying three shows by The Lone Bellow in more intimate settings — including one at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton where we were so close that Zach Williams could have easily fallen onto our table during one of his trademark edge-of-the-stage clapping outbursts — we couldn’t help but wonder how different it might be to see one of our favorite groups an arena-like setting. Would the Lone Bellow’s unique blend of power, precision and tenderness translate to a much larger crowd in a larger space?
We received an emphatic answer to that question at the Americana Music Festival, where The Lone Bellow opened for the Avett Brothers at Riverfront Park in downtown Nashville, Tenn on Sept. 20. In fact, it was almost as if Williams (guitar, lead vocals), Brian Elmquist (guitar, vocals) and Kanene Pipkin (mandolin, vocals) were on a mission to demonstrate that they are quite prepared for the bigger stages that may be inevitable as the trio prepares to release their sophomore album early next year.
The Lone Bellow seized the swelling crowd’s attention by roaring into the opener “You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional.” Williams always seems to be going full-throttle on stage, which made it surprising to see him hit an even higher gear on a humid Tennessee evening. After a couple songs, my wife turned to me and said, “Zach’s in rare form tonight.”
The rest of The Lone Bellow were in top form as well, delivering a fantastic set that included songs from their 2013 debut such as “You Never Need Nobody,” “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold,” “Two Sides of Lonely,” “You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To,” “Teach Me To Know,” “Bleeding Out,” “Tree To Grow,” and “The One You Should’ve Let Go.”
Their performance of newer songs such as “Diners” and “Watch Over Us” left us even more eager for the upcoming album. A few days later, I caught myself searching for the gospel-tinged “Watch Over Us” on my iPod before I remembered that it hasn’t even been released yet. It’s that good.
So if you haven’t yet seen The Lone Bellow perform live in one of those smaller venues, dear Tree To Grow readers, hurry up before they are playing to sold out arenas. But don’t worry, I can also confidently report that they are more than ready for the big stages.