Country rock outfit The Lone Bellow will make its second stop in the Lowcountry for an April 10 show at the Charleston Music Hall. In March, the band headlined two nights of the Savannah Music Festival and brought audiences to their feet with its beautiful gospel-style harmonies and exuberant, soulful playing.
Since forming in Brooklyn in 2010 and releasing its self-titled debut album in January 2013, The Lone Bellow has become a bright light among newcomer artists. Lead singer Zach Williams, singer and mandolin player Kanene Pipkin and singer/guitarist Brian Elmquist mesh so well that their voices often sound like one, which is the whole idea of The Lone Bellow, Williams has said.
The band will headline the Dig South Interactive Festival in Charleston, a five-day event focusing on innovation and the digital economy. From April 9-13, the festival will feature tech-themed panel discussions and exhibitions, as well as evening concerts and other social gatherings around town.
Although The Lone Bellow is based out of Brooklyn, N.Y., the core trio of Williams, Elmquist and Pipkin is Southerners. Williams and Elmquist are both from Georgia, and Pipkin is from Virginia. Their Southern roots come through in their music, which mixes gospel, blues, country, soul and even indie rock.
The Lone Bellow's recording and touring ensemble also includes Ben Mars on bass, Brian Murphy on keyboards, Matt Knapp on lap steel and electric guitar, Jason Pipkin on banjo and mandolin, and Brian Griffin on drums.
Prior to the band's Charleston show, Lowcountry Life caught up with Williams to discuss the band's full-blown touring schedule, its second CD and its love of the South.
Question. When y'all first started as a band, you were playing in addition to each of your day jobs. How does it feel to be touring and playing music full time now?
Answer. It's wonderful. It's been a very eye-opening year. We've seen this beautiful country, and it's been an honor.
Q. You guys recently played at the Savannah Music Festival. You seem so passionate live and good about getting the audience involved. How do you bring that passion into your performances night after night?
A. (Savannah) was absolutely incredible. The people there were so kind to us. It was great to be back in a Southern town after being in Europe for three weeks.
I think that definitely a live show is a give and take. It's a conversation between an artist and a listener. It's about making a night that's memorable and worth something.
It really depends on the listeners for me. If I'm feeling kindness and honesty and vulnerability in the room, I'm going to want to be a part of that as much as I can.
Q. Who are some of your musical influences?
A. Jim James. Otis Redding. All those folks.
Q. Y'all have been compared to groups like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers. Do you think those comparisons are accurate?
A. Those bands are really, really big bands. They're really doing it big time. We are not at that level at all, so I don't know. I definitely love the Mumford and Sons records, and there are some beautiful moments on The Lumineers' record.
I'm cool with it. I'm honored that someone wants to write about our music in the first place.
Q. What's next for you guys?
A. We're doing a new record in May. We're going to make it in Brooklyn and we're really excited about that. I don't know what's going to happen. I'm just excited about having the time to get in the room with my friends and see what comes out of it.
We've got all the songs already, and it's pretty vocally-driven. Then we're playing Bonnaroo after that and a few other festivals. Summertime is a great time for music.
Q. Anything else?
A. I hope we get some time to hang out in Charleston. I love that city. My folks will be there, and I'll have my two little girls with me. Maybe I'll take them to Rainbow Row.
Follow Erin Shaw at twitter.com@IPBG_ErinShaw.