The Lone Bellow, opened by Becca Mancari, played a joyous, soulful concert in the 1884 Lounge at Memphis’s Minglewood Hall on February 28, 2018. Becca Mancari began the evening with gentle, thoughtful roots-rock music. Originally from Staten Island, Mancari has lived in the South for a long time and is heavily influenced by the music she has discovered there. She plays with genre in her music, mixing roots and mountain music with an urban sound. Her lyrics are vulnerable and warm, sorrowful yet bouncing with a young spirit. She included a twinge of country music on a couple of songs and played an emotional cover of Neil Young’s (with whom she shares a birthday) song “Ohio.” One of her band members played a distorted steel guitar, which she called “The Dream Machine.” Her songs sound as if she heard them all in a beautiful dream where she watched parts of her life pass before her in a summery haze.
Folk rock trio The Lone Bellow was formed in Brooklyn, New York, but its members are from across the South. They are currently on tour promoting the recent release of their third album Walk Into a Storm. The band’s core members are lead singer and guitarist Zach Williams, bassist, mandolin player, keyboardist, and singer Kanene Pipkin, and guitarist and singer Brian Elmquist. Williams clapped his hands, got on his knees, and belted out soulful harmonies with Pipkin and Elmquist, who brought their own soul and emotion to their old favorites and new hits. The new album deals with the complications arising from the band members now having families but touring more at the same time. Additionally, Williams and his family moved from Brooklyn to Nashville. You can hear the strain and hardship their relationships have undergone as the band has become more and more successful since its formation seven years ago. Even so, there is hope and joy in their faces and voices as they perform. Songs like “May You Be Well” and “Walk Into a Storm” lovingly wish the best to those closest to them while they honor their feelings of tension and pain. When the band returned to sing an encore, an audience member shouted something about the greatness of Elmquist’s Boyz II Men shirt, and the trio spontaneously started singing “End of the Road.” Pipkin laughed with the other two, but mostly shook her head as Williams knelt down next to Elmquist, passionately belting out the classic hit. They ended with one of their earlier songs, “Watch Over Us.” With just three voices and a guitar, the solemn, reverent song sounds like a prayer. Indeed, all throughout the concert, The Lone Bellow’s soulful music and passionate delivery nearly transported the audience to church.
Text by Alice Fugate