After bursting onto the music scene in 2013 with a stellar self-titled debut, New York-based The Lone Bellow are now preparing for the follow-up. And while the dreaded “sophomore slump” torpedoes the careers of many bands, guitarist and lead vocalist Zach Williams isn’t worried about the new album.
“I really believe in the record,” he says. “I almost see it as a play with four acts, with three or four songs per act. I went through a really heavy situation while writing these songs, and I think it’s going to be a cathartic thing.”
The band, which describes its sound as “Brooklyn country music,” is rounded out by New York-based native Southerners Kanene Pipkin and Brian Elmquist. Country is the perfect genre for catharsis, and Williams knows something about highly personal music; the whole reason he began writing and performing music publicly was to find a way to cope in the wake of a horseback-riding accident some years ago that nearly left his wife permanently paralyzed.
The band’s debut was chockfull of soaring rock songs (“Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold”), tender folk tracks (“Two Sides of Lonely”) and songs whose titles are revealing and self-explanatory (“You Don’t Love Me Like You Used to”). But as much as Williams is preparing to find a therapeutic release in the new album Then Came the Morning (due out in January), he is curious to see if certain listeners will take the songs as personally as he does.
“I know exactly what the songs are about and the human beings that they are about, and some of those people haven’t heard the songs yet,” Williams confesses. “So I’m really nervous and excited about what will happen when they hear them, because it will be plainly obvious to them when they hear them.”
The Lone Bellow play with Wisconsin’s folk-country outfit Hugh Bob and The Hustle 9 pm Saturday, Oct. 11, at WOW Hall; $15 adv., $18 door.