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Tag: The Lone Bellow (1-3 of 3)

The 10 Best Country Albums of 2013

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It’s tough to say what constitutes a country album these days. 2013 was a year that saw arena-filling acts feud over pop’s influence in the genre, Nashville stars record with Norwegian pop Svengalis, and a country-rap collaboration become the longest-running No. 1 country hit of all time. Ten gallon hats and Wrangler jeans now feel out of place in a sea of trucker caps and wallet chains.

Plus, the rise of Americana, a somewhat amorphous genre that’s not considered fully folk, fully rock, or fully pop — but one that shares so many roots (and so much instrumentation) with county music — has further blurred the lines. Much of what we call “Americana” or “singer-songwriter” today falls more into the classic “country” category in storytelling and song structure than the pop-infused output of Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, or certainly Taylor Swift.

In short, the genre is something of a mess right now. It’s telling that the country format is both more popular and more criticized than it has been in decades. I spent quite a bit of time this year writing about country’s problems (the aforementioned feuds, the lazy lyrics, the lack of women on the radio) but even so, I’m happy to report that there was great music to be found. A lot of it. Music that has me hopeful for 2014. Some mainstream albums broke the mold, and more than a few shining stars from Nashville’s fringes made a major impression.

So, taking all of that into account — and taking into account that we all might have different definitions of what constitutes a country album — here are my picks for the genre’s ten best discs this year. (Spoiler alert: Luke Bryan, Tyler Farr, Justin Moore, Jake Owen, and Thomas Rhett definitely didn’t make the cut.) READ FULL STORY

SXSW: Gold Fields, the Lone Bellow rock the EW Music Lounge

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Warm weather and cool music mingled like old buddies at EW’s Music Lounge yesterday in Austin. Hosted at 219 West, the party starred more than piles of sliders, tater tots by the bucket, and pop-culture-pegged cocktails (“Pretty in Pink” margaritas, “Tainted Love” vodka tonics); there were some musical delicacies as well — specifically Gold Fields (above) and the Lone Bellow, which each put on a set for the bustling room.

The Lone Bellow kicked things off with their stripped-down folk-country, powered through tracks from their recently released self-titled album and commandeered the attention of even the most appetizer-obsessed partygoers (when you hear them sing a number like “You Never Need Nobody” and mean it, you’ll put down your slider and shut your greasy mouth).

READ FULL STORY

Let the Buzz Begin! Check out band-on-the-rise the Lone Bellow -- VIDEO

Are you a fan of suspenders-snapping acts like Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, and the Civil Wars? Then do we have an indie-folk trio for you!

In the first of our new monthly Let the Buzz Begin! video series, Brooklyn band-on-the-rise the Lone Bellow swings by the EW offices to chat and perform a couple songs from their self-titled new album, which is currently climbing the charts on iTunes and will be widely available on Jan. 22, the same day the group makes its late-night debut on Conan.

Check out EW’s conversation with the Lone Bellow after the jump (featuring footage of them performing “You Never Need Nobody”), and as a bonus, enjoy their full live rendition of “Two Sides of Lonely.” READ FULL STORY

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