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The Lone Bellow, ‘Bleeding Out’ – Song Review

Bleeding Out
Descendant Records

In ‘Bleeding Out,’ Zach Williams of the Lone Bellow sings with an urgency nearly unmatched in country music. Strip away an arrangement that builds to anthemic levels and you’re still left with an unforgettably passionate performance.

The song takes a few listens and perhaps some time spent studying the lyrics to figure out what message he’s earnestly trying to deliver. ‘Bleeding Out’ can be interpreted as a rallying cry for artists moving to the big city, but one may find his or her own meaning as well.

All the horoscopes tell us to break all of our ties / To our families and loved ones, we leave when we fly / To these cities we think we need in our lives / Oh you Manhattan jungle, you tangle our pride,” he sings during the second verse. The skeptics, the doubt, the obstacles and rejection that come with chasing a dream all work in the background, but fall away as the song builds toward its final chorus:

Breathing in, breathing out, the salt in my mouth / Gives me hope that I’ll bleed something worth bleeding out / Breathing in, breathing out, the salt in my mouth / Gives me hope that I’ll bleed something worth bleeding out.”

Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers are better comparisons for the Lone Bellow than anything on country radio. The Brooklyn-based trio is more Civil Wars than Lady Antebellum. They join a rapidly expanding genre of Americana/country/folk-fill-in-your-own-label singers.

All the buildings, they lean and they smile down on us / And they shout from their roof tops, words we can’t trust / Like you’re dead, you are tired / You’re ruined, you’re dust / Oh you will ‘mount to nothing, like tanks full of rust,” Williams sings, almost shouting before the song’s catharsis.

A certain group of country fans just aren’t going to like the Lone Bellow or any of the other previously mentioned groups. Lyrically, ‘Bleeding Out’ is on the edge of being too thick with metaphor to make sense, but smartly placed “La-da-da’s” make the song more accessible. It builds and builds and builds before letting loose at the end. Only a select group of fans will be able to relate to the story to know which emotion to be tapping into.

4 Stars

Listen to the Lone Bellow, ‘Bleeding Out’

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Next: the Top 40 Country Songs for May 2013

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