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Lone Bellow at Ann Arbor Folk Festival, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2020

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The Lone Bellow has been busy during the nine years since it formed and the seven years since it began releasing music.

The Americana trio from Brooklyn has released three albums, with a fourth, "Half Moon Light," due out Feb. 7. It's logged four Top 25 singles on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart and was nominated as Duo/Group of the Year at the 2015 Americana Music Honors & Awards.

The growth curve continues with "Half Moon Light," much to the delight of singer-guitarist Zach Williams...

• For the new album, Williams, 38, says by phone that the Lone Bellow made some changes in the way it wrote and arranged songs. "We kind of flipped the way we produced the songs. Before we'd lay (the instruments) down and then the lyrics and singing would sit on top of that. This time we would hum the songs and then build the vocals and the rest of the song on top of that. There are a few songs where we kept the hums in there and made them kind of like another instrument."

• "Half Moon Light" finds the group working again with Aaron Dessner of The National, who also produced the Lone Bellow’s sophomore release "Then Came the Morning" in 2015. "It was really nice just having that friendship already in place," Williams says. "We already had some understandings of how we see the world." Dessner, according to Williams, pushed the group to change song keys and make a few other changes. "He kept saying...'I'm clipping the eagle's wings. You guys have already hit all the high notes and hollered and screamed and all that. I want to try to find another kind of life force in your music."

• The Lone Bellow has just started playing live to promote "Half Moon Light" and beings touring in earnest during mid-February. "I'm excited about it," Williams says. "With most bands, as you play songs through a record cycle they start to morph and change. This record leaves a lot of room for us to experience new sounds and vibes as the touring continues, so we're looking forward to getting them out there."

The Lone Bellow performs Friday, Jan. 31, during the first night of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium on the U-M campus. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. $48-$110. 734-761-1818 or theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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