Two years ago, we profiled the Lone Bellow, an Americana music trio who released an extraordinary debut album. Not surprisingly, the band went on to earn critical acclaim. Now Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist and Kanene Pipkin return with their latest album, Then Came the Morning, which was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner.
By no means does this record suffer the dreaded sophomore jinx that usually accompanies a band’s second effort. Rather, it’s a both a continuation of and progression from the Lone Bellow’s passionate, heart-on-its-sleeve sound and songwriting. That’s quite clear from the very first moments of the record–the joyous opening title track hits you immediately with its orchestral majesty, spirituality and Williams’ heartfelt vocals. From there Then Came the Morning ebbs and flows between somber melancholy numbers about affairs of the heart (“Fake Roses,” “Diners,” and the devastating ballad “I Let You Go”), and jubilant rockers (the gospel-like stomper “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home,” “Cold As It Is,” and the electrifying “If You Don’t Love Me”).
Through the songwriting, the shimmering melodies and production, as well as the vocal harmonies, there are many moments of beauty, albeit a fragile sort, on this album, especially on “To The Woods” and “Marietta,” which was inspired by a moment involving Williams’ wife and young baby prior to the album’s recording. In our interview from 2013, Williams said, “I think we all share the same hope of being part of moments that matter as much as we can. So that’s a strong desire every time we play.” It’s not surprising then how those things seamlessly coalesce on Then Came the Morning, which could be considered the band’s finest work to date.
The Lone Bellow’s latest album Then Came the Morning (Descendent Records) is out now. The band will perform a free show on Feb. 10 at Barnes and Noble, 33 East 17th St., 7pm in Manhattan. The group’s concerts in March at the Bowery Ballroom and the Music Hall of Williamsburg are both sold out.