Interview with Zach Williams of The Lone Bellow, Playing PARKLIFE on 9/7

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All three members of The Lone Bellow have at least one thing in common and that’s their Southern roots. It’s not necessarily surprising that each member of this three-piece alt-country outfit was born and raised in the South. The surprising part is where they decided to unite their forces and make music– Brooklyn. Out of Brooklyn, New York, The Lone Bellow is composed of Zach Williams on guitar and lead vocals, Kanene Donehey Pipkin on mandolin and vocals and Brian Elmquist on guitar and vocals. On September 7th, The Lone Bellow, along with a barrage of other great artists will take the stage at Atlantic Station for PARKLIFE.

PARKLIFE will feature Jake Bugg, The Lone Bellow, The Wild Feathers, LP, The Weeks and The Shadowboxers. PARKLIFE is a one-day expedition into live music the way it’s meant to be experienced. Held in Atlantic Station’s Central Park, right in the heart of Atlanta, this event allows us to reconnect with the touring artists we know and love while introducing the big names of tomorrow, all for the price of your average single-headliner show.

Tickets are $25 advance GA ($30 door), $150 VIP. Tickets and details at, also available at Freshtix.





AMG: Give me a little bit of history on The Lone Bellow. How did you get started and where did the name come from?

Zach Williams: Lets see here. We’re based out of Brooklyn. I grew up in Acworth, Georgia. That’s just north of Atlanta off of Highway 75. There’s another fella in the band from Sandersville, Georgia and then some folks from Fredericksburg, Virginia. But we all started doing music together, I mean the short of it is that we started playing music together in Brooklyn. We live close together. We’re all from the South and you know the grass is always greener on the other side so living in Brooklyn we were drawn I guess back to our roots- just storyteller, 3 part harmony kind of music. And we started out, we were hoping to do kind of a honky-tonk project but then as the sound started to come alive, we couldn’t do honky-tonk if our life depended on it. So yeah that’s a little history of the band. I’ve been a songwriter based of out New York for awhile. The other songwriters are from the other places. But yeah we made our first record, we released it in January of 2013.

[As for the band name] …So there’s a little town up close to Cartersville called White, which is unfortunate I think but whatever, but I spent the summers there with my grandparents and, it’s a weird story about a band name but, basically since we were thinking the history that we came from musically, I was thinking a lot about the summers in White with my grandparents. My grandmother’s guest room was decorated with clown faces and it was really creepy. Across the cow pasture this one night, there was this plastic bag stuck in the tree and I thought it was a ghost. And then I heard a bull’s bellow out in the pasture and I thought that was the ghost communicating to the clown faces in the guest room. And I slept on the shag carpet from then on out. One day I got up the nerve to ask my grandfather what the sound was and he told me it was the bull’s bellow. So that’s basically the weird history of where the band name comes from. I was thinking about one of the more memorable memories of that time and that one stands out in my mind. 


AMG: I read somewhere that your music is “Brooklyn Country Music.” How exactly would you define that?

ZW: Well we’re all from the South, but we all live in Brooklyn. Our first rehearsal was just our neighbors. I made some phone calls, got some folks together. It was like peddle steel, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, piano, upright, acoustic- we could pull ’em together all within an hour. There’s a bluegrass scene in Brooklyn. And we were thinking a lot about the ’80’s ladies and the highway men. But yeah I think I said that one time as a joke in an interview and it just kind of stuck with us.


AMG: So I know that you guys are playing PARKLIFE in Atlanta on September 7th- Are you looking forward to coming to Atlanta and do you have any spots you must hit while you’re here?

ZW: We can’t wait! Dixie Speedway. I don’t know if we’re gonna be there on a Saturday night. I was just in Atlanta, well Canton, Georgia, visiting my family like last week and we went to Dixie Speedway and it was beautiful. Definitely in Downtown Atlanta, I go to Mary Mac’s. Yeah, I love that place- it’s incredible. But yeah, we can’t wait.

I remember the first time I heard Jake Bugg’s music. And how on Earth does this boy write these songs. I was just floored by his songwriting talent. So to be on a bill with him is an honor.

And The Wild Feather boys are good friends of ours. We both played ACL together last year. And we were supposed to play on the same day and I don’t know if you remember this but ACL (Austin City Limits Music Festival) got hit by this monsoon flood insanity, so nobody could play. So us and The Wild Feathers put together a ghetto show in some busted up bar and absolutely had the time of our lives. I haven’t seen those boys since that night so I can’t wait to see them either. And Atlanta has been so good to us, from Eddie’s Attic letting us play there 2 nights in a row. And even what they were for The Civil Wars back 2 years ago – our very first tour was with The Civil Wars a long time ago. And they’re also speaking fondly of  Eddie’s Attic. It’s just really good people, really kind people and I just can’t wait. 


AMG: How would you describe your live performances to someone who’s never seen you live? Feel free to brag a little.

ZW: I don’t know. I mean I’ve been working on my banter so hopefully the banter is a little better this time around. I’m just kidding. We put our all into it. We believe in what we’re doing. And we hope that the people who are listening to the music will help us be a part of a some sort of beautiful moment and create something that can only being created between us on that night. So that’s kind of like the goal of a live show, to experience something new with a new group of people, with everybody leaning into that and figuring it out. We try hard. 


AMG: Do you have any advice that you’d give to young artists trying to break into the industry?

ZW: Yeah, sure. Go to the local mics, they’re there for a reason. And listen to what the people in the room are saying. They’ll let you by the body language if it’s something that should maybe just stay in your apartment or something that should be shared. Yeah, I think that was some good advice given to me. And pick a city and make it your home. If you love what you’re doing, maybe they’ll love what you’re doing and they’ll carry you. 

AMG: Anything else? Any shout outs?

ZW: V103, the people’s station! I don’t know if that’s still around.

AMG: Oh, it is!

ZW: I remember Chris Lovalova and Tunedaddy on V103- they were awesome! That was Ludacris, I don’t know if you know that or not, he was one of the DJ’s. Shout out The Dungeon and Outkast, The Dungeon Family- they’ve done a lot for Atlanta. Both of moms. And the Krispy Kreme on Ponce- the best kind of bad decision.  





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