Lone Bellow
Half Moon Light
Dualtone Records

When is Americana Not Americana But Still Is?

What is the difference between Folk/Alt Folk/Americana/Blues Rock etc? 
I had seen The Lone Bellow at the Sage Americana Festival so they have to be easy to class as ‘Americana’ don’t they?…… but that was before I listened to this album!
Zachary Williams, Brian Elmquist and Kanene Pipkin; under the excellent production of The National’s Aaron Dressner in his NY studio have produced in HALF MOON LIGHT an album to match their initial offering a few years ago.
I Can Feel You Dancing could have come from a Bears Den album as the brass section slides into the middle of a very softly sung opener to reveal the first of their intricate harmonies.
An especially song is the poignant August; a nod to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchinson after his very sad death following a bout of depression; yet only months earlier I had seen him lead a superb set – a very good reminder to a much missed singer.
Having originally ‘filed’ this under Americana, there are clear signs of a gospel and almost evangelical leaning on several tracks just to demonstrate the ‘genre’ concerns I have and are still there after a few listens.
Zach’s very powerful voice comes to the fore on Count On Me, with the harmonies I mentioned earlier coming in on Was It Clean; and Kanene makes the most of a fine drum backing on Just Enough To Get By.
Favourites for me are the opener  Can Feel You Dancing and Illegal Immigrants where Kanene dragged me into believing I had come across a Phoebe Bridgers track by mistake, but in all honesty I could probably have picked at least another couple to earn the Best Track accolade.
On first listening this was a 7 but after listening to it during my daily morning walks (no interruptions) it has to be a very solid 8/10.
I would have loved to hear Kanene Pipkin taking a major role on more tracks, but if that’s my only gripe I can’t complain; although it would have been nice to see them on a longer UK Tour to accompany this.

Review courtesy the ‘Original Rocking Magpie’; Bill Redhead.

7th February 2020
Pre-Order https://thelonebellow.lnk.to/HalfMoonLight

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