In years past, Wednesday’s unofficial day parties would, for most, officially start their SXSW. Six years ago, Jeff Davidson and I contributed to the festivities with Earvolution’s inaugural (and only) afternoon event. (Two artists from that showcase will be playing SXSW 2013: Joshua James and Ace Reporter’s Chris Snyder formerly of The States). With Tuesday becoming the new Wednesday, there is tempered excitement while heading into downtown Austin.
[The Lone Bellow Photo by @pastemagazine]
As it their custom, Paste Magazine has taken over The Stage At 6th for the week, this year pairing with HGTV, running two stages making it The Stages At 6th. As is also their custom, they’ve booked eclectic showcases featuring a wide variety of genres as well as a nice mix of buzzbands and soon to be buzzed about bands.
After a quick run down Sixth Street due to a change in bus routes, it’s a Lone star with The Lone Bellow. Well, it would be but for Red Hook Brewery’s sponsorship and free IPAs and ESBs. The bartender responds to my query about what makes the ESB extra special with a tired “I don’t know.” I suspect I’m not the first person to ask this. The Lone Bellow may owe a debt of gratitude to Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers but with gorgeous harmonies and lovely acoustic folk melodies, they can definitely stand their own ground. Their debut record may not do justice in showing how solid they are.
For their 2013 festival Newport Folk Festival organizers have expanded the offerings to a full three days – July 26th through July 28th at scenic Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Over the past few days, event organizers have announced the first three Newport Folk Festival ’13 acts.
HT faves Andrew Bird and Shovels & Rope as well as relative newcomers The Lone Bellow – who Jeff introduced us to earlier this month – are all set to perform at the legendary festival in 2013. Just on the strength of their past lineups, three-day Newport Folk Fest passes are already sold out. You can still buy passes to each of the three individual days as well as two-day passes, but don’t expect them to be around for very long.
Be sure to keep your eyes on @NewportFolkFest for additional lineup reveals.
While some would like to call it the Mumford-ization of rock, there is no denying that over the last handful of years folk, roots and Americana music has crossed over into the mainstream with bands like The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars, The Swell Season and most recently The Lumineers all achieving cross-over success. The latest band that is likely to benefit from this trend is The Lone Bellow, who will release their self-titled debut next Tuesday via Sony’s Descendant Records imprint.
The Brooklyn-based band, who has already gotten the stamp of approval from the folks at NPR Music, play an instantly likable brand of country and gospel-inflected folk, with big wonderful harmonies that fluctuate between exuberant foot-stomping numbers and sweeping, tender, heartfelt tunes.
The band, which puts on a fantastic live show, is the brainchild of lead singer Zach Williams, who began writing songs and teaching himself how to play guitar as a cathartic release back in 2005, while his wife was recovering from a life-threatening horseback riding accident. The Lone Bellow, whose album is currently streaming as part of NPR Music’s First Listen series, has released the home-spun video for the record’s lead single You Never Need Nobody. Let’s check it out…