(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – The folk-rock trio the Lone Bellow brings its rootsy take on Americana to MASS MoCA for the annual Memorial Day weekend kickoff concert on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at 8pm. The group’s recent album, “Then Came the Morning,” was produced by Bryce Dessner of the National, and introduced a more contemporary sound into the Brooklyn-based band’s repertoire. Chamber-pop group Arc Iris, led by singer-songwriter-guitarist Jocie Adams, formerly of the Low Anthem, warms up the crowd for the Lone Bellow.
Featuring singer-songwriter Zach Williams, singer-mandolin player Kanene Pipkin, and singer-guitarist Brian Elmquist, the Lone Bellow – alumni of MASS MoCA’s annual FreshGrass Festival of roots music — keeps its roots firmly planted in the American South, self-identifying as “Brooklyn by way of south of the Mason-Dixon line.”
Incorporating classic imagery and lore into an updated and urbanized Americana sound, the Lone Bellow is known for an earnest attitude, insightful lyrics, and spirited live shows. NPR Music says, “The Lone Bellow’s songs lean toward the gigantic, but they’re also impeccably played and nicely balanced by softer, subtler touches.”
The formation of the Lone Bellow was based no less on friendship than musicianship. Longtime friends spread across the country, all three members had long histories of writing and recording music before discovering how beautiful their voices sounded together. The intimate kinship existing between the members of the Lone Bellow translates into a sound characterized by stunning, intimate vocal harmonies. As Pipkin puts it, “the feeling I get singing with Zach and Brian is completely natural and wholly electrifying. Our voices feel like they were made to sing together.”
This unique style has garnered the group extensive praise and popularity in the two years they’ve been performing. Following their self-titled debut in 2013, they performed extensively for live audiences in NYC, as well as across the country, opening for Grammy Award-winner the Civil Wars. They’ve also opened for Dwight Yoakam, Brandi Carlile, and the Avett Brothers.
Opening support Arc Iris crystallizes the evolution of composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Jocie Adams, a former core member of renowned indie-folk band the Low Anthem. Adams has created a genre-bending style that often shifts between cabaret-infused jazz, orchestral sophistication, grimy outlaw country, delicate and whimsical harmonies, and big-band exhilaration – sometimes all in the same song. Hers is an altogether different world where fantastical whimsy goes hand in hand with down-to-earth grit, and where rigorous classical training inflects but never softens the visceral rawness of hard-won experience.
Fresh salads, hearty sandwiches, and burritos the size of your head – as well as thematic dinner specials – are available from Lickety Split before and during the show. A full bar serves Berkshire Brewing Company beers and Berkshire Mountain Distillery spirits. Tickets are $8 for students, $12 in advance, $18 day of, and $24 for preferred seating. Members receive a 10% discount. Tickets for all events are available through the MASS MoCA box office located on Marshall Street in North Adams, open 11am – 5pm Wednesdays through Mondays; closed Tuesdays through spring 2015. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during box office hours or purchased on-line at MASS MoCA.