Written by Dave Clements – February 26, 2020

I was asked a month or so ago if I’d be interested in reviewing a band that was going to open their tour in Houston in late February. I shared that I would try to move a few other commitments around and ‘do my best’ to make it happen. I then kind of forgot about it knowing that the PR person who made the request would confirm the details later and get back to me.

Now fast forward to the day before the show at The Heights Theater. I received an email saying that all has been approved and I am cleared to come enjoy the show and to bring my camera.  Always a fun, ideal combination for this reviewer.

This particular Wednesday was cold and extremely windy. The theater was an hour away from home, the stock market had tumbled for the second day in a row and I’m just not in a very good mood to say the least. The very last thing I wanted to do was go see a band with New York City roots that I had never even heard of called The Lone Bellow.

I had committed however and I hate to not do what I had previously agreed to do. My wife, also reluctant, decided she would make the trek with me into the city for reasons that were even less clear than mine.

We arrived at the venue just in time to somehow get the last two chairs in the theater, thank goodness as neither of us really wanted to stand all evening. We then patiently waited to finally ‘see & hear’ what we had agreed to do….at this point still very reluctantly.

Mr. Early James opened the show with his bandmates and we found them way more interesting than entertaining yet they did their thing for about 45 minutes. Deep inside I was still unsure about this whole evening, wondering what to expect with Lone Bellow but really hoped it wasn’t going to be more of the same.

Nine pm finally arrived, lights went down and then not three, not four but seven people came on stage, including a horn section ready to do their thing.

Lights came up, the band started and they hadn’t played 60 seconds of their first song I Can Feel You Dancing before I was screaming to myself ‘REAL DEAL’ REAL DEAL’!  That quickly gave way to ‘have I been living under a rock?!  Why don’t I know this band? Oh my God, what a start, what an incredible stage presence well beyond their years, and a dynamic sound that was so powerful and real and complete from far stage left to far stage right.  I was left just shaking my head and wondering where was the train that had just run us over! My wife was speechless and equally in awe.

And from there it only got better.   Zach Williams (lead vocalist) was amazing, Brian Elmquist (guitar and vocals) also amazing and Kanene Donehey Pipkin (also guitar and vocals) amazing and magical even made up the front line of this powerhouse.

Their three part harmonies have CSN-like qualities and were abundant throughout the show. Just listening to them harmonize is worth the price of admission 11 out of every 10 times. They are every bit as strong lyrically and provided a fairly constant dose of high energy.

I obviously hadn’t heard their songs before that evening however I will have them in my catalog very soon and expect to wear them out listening.

Better yet I will be on the lookout for their return to the Greater Houston area as this band is an absolutely must see again band for me and my wife (her stunned comment: I think we were just in the presence of greatness!) and you need to be right there beside us to experience it!

Buy their music, support their efforts to gain a bigger fan base and buy lots of tickets to their next show in ‘these parts’…just save us two seats.

Until next time…do your part to keep live music alive.