Lead singer and principal songwriter, Zach Williams, can pinpoint the moment he realized The Lone Bellow had become a group. It was around 9 a.m. in 2010 at Dizzy’s Diner in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where The Lone Bellow’s guitarist and Williams’ old friend Brian Elmquist was working a shift. Williams, up until then performing as a solo artist, asked Elmquist and fellow singer Kanene Pipkin to join him at the diner for a jam session later. As Williams recalls, “Three songs in I realized I should quit what I’m doing and just make music with these people.”
And that’s what he did. The trio’s self-titled debut is exuberant in its playing and welcoming in its attitude. Though the lyrics have a melancholic undercurrent, the tracks are more often rave-ups than ruminations, with swelling three-part harmonies and rousing group-sung choruses, especially on the electric guitar-driven “The One You Should’ve Let Go” and “Green Eyes and A Heart of Gold”.
Williams, a native Georgian, first came to songwriting via near tragedy. While still living down south, Williams’ young wife was catastrophically injured in a horseback riding accident. Physicians told Williams that, at best, his wife would leave the hospital a paraplegic. But after months of rehab, his wife ultimately regained the ability to walk. Throughout the ordeal, Williams scribbled his thoughts into a journal and his good friend Caleb Clardy suggested he turn his writing into songs. “I was going to classes on how to bathe and feed my wife, and I was trying to process all the fear and anger and the numbness. I started reading my friends these journal entries and Caleb said ‘these are songs, man, you need to learn how to play the guitar and sing at the same time,’” recalls Williams. A revitalized Williams and his wife headed to New York City to pursue their creative paths in earnest. Williams wrote deeply personal songs – tender but frank tales of romantic rupture and hard-fought redemption – rooted in the country, folk and gospel of his Southern youth and that’s the material he brought to Dizzy’s Diner back in 2010.
After a warm-up gig at Brooklyn’s Roots Café, Williams got a call from The Civil Wars, the Grammy Award Winning duo, who asked if he and his new group would open for them in Philadelphia. The group practiced for three straight days and went to Philadelphia to perform their first real show as a group. Then in 2013, Civil Wars’ producer Charlie Peacock assisted The Lone Bellow in capturing the group’s magic on record. The results of their efforts, The Lone Bellow’s self-titled debut, are earnest, inspiring and fun.
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Chris Rose put it best when he described Kristin Diable as “a young woman out of South Louisiana who has got some serious chops, a peroxide, leggy crooner with a soul like Lucinda Williams, the confidence of Grace Slick and the voice of a decades-ago Bonnie Raitt. Best thing out of Baton Rouge since rush hour…”. Kristin Diable is a legacy artist in training. Along with her band, The City, steeped in traditional roots, folk, blues and americana music, the band is pressing forward into full blown rock-n-roll and proving to be one of New Orleans’ fastest rising stars. Recent performances include the world renowned New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Austin City Limits Music Festival, French Quarter Festival, VooDoo Music Festival, South by Southwest and beyond. They have shared bills with a diverse array of artists including Norah Jones, John Mayer, Jonny Lang, Gin Blossoms, Irma Thomas and Robert Cray. Songs from the latest record Kristin Diable & The City have been heard far and wide as they have been placed on popular television shows such as HBO’s True Blood and Treme, as well as international campaigns including Jeep Grand Cherokee’s “We Build”, for which Diable wrote, produced and performed the title track.The Times Picayune recently celebrated the band’s record Kristin Diable & The City as #2 of the year, just behind icon Dr. John.
Foreign Fields is an electronic folk group that hails from the wintry plains of Wisconsin. New Years day of 2011 they met in their hometown, in an abandoned office building, to begin work on their first full length LP “Anywhere But Where I Am”. Having no set plan or guide, the album grew naturally as they left their lives in the north for the rivers of Tennessee. Days after self-releasing on Bandcamp in January 2012, the album began to catch the attention of notable tastemaker blogs and worldwide critics alike.
The Lone Bellow with Kirstin Diable and Foreign Fields is a part of the Sing Out Loud (SOL) Series, a St. Augustine Celebration of Songwriters, presented by the St. Johns Cultural Council and St. Johns County Cultural Events Division. Additional SOL Series performances taking place throughout November will be announced in the upcoming weeks.