It’s been six years since the Lone Bellow was first formed by lead singer and guitarist Zach Williams, multi-instrumentalist Kanene Donehey Pipkin, and guitarist Brian Elmquist. But one only needs to get Williams speaking to the group’s songwriting process to witness firsthand just how passionate he remains about its teeming creativity. “It’s a beautiful process,” the effusive singer says of the almost epiphany-like manner in which the band typically translates its vivid ideas to melodies and lyrics. “You’re trying to figure out exactly what it is you’re trying to say. And then, bam! Lightning strikes, everybody’s in the room, and it’s like the heavens open. Suddenly you’re able to write a song.”
The Lone Bellow, which also now includes Jason Pipkin on keyboards/bass, has long nurtured a deep and highly personal connection with their music. But with Walk into a Storm, their third studio album, the band turned inward like never before. “We covered such a broad range of emotion on the album,” Elmquist says of the raw, intimate, and undeniably soulful Dave Cobb–produced LP recorded in Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A. The ten-track album, Elmquist says, is centered on “the human condition and how you’re trying to connect with it.” With stunning tracks including “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy?” and “Long Way to Go,” it features some of the band’s most poignant material to date.
When creating the follow-up to 2014’s cherished Then Came the Morning, the band confronted (and ultimately overcame) a host of personal obstacles; not only did all the members and their respective families work through a relocation from New York City to Nashville, but on the day they were to begin recording the album Elmquist entered a rehab facility for issues stemming from alcohol abuse. “There’s a thousand different ways this could have gone down but it’s the way it did,” says Elmquist. The tumultuous experience helped “put what we’re doing in perspective.” “I got to see the love and friendship we have for each other in action. I’m thankful.”
The group have found themselves elevated to the top rungs of the Americana elite, thanks to glowing critical notices and an Americana Music Awards nomination.
If there’s a secret to the warm, wide-open sound of The Lone Bellow, it lies in absolute sincerity and commitment.