By Kevin Alan Lamb
Like a breath of fresh air breathed into an early Michigan spring, her voice will incite and ignite blooming life in your veins that too often remains dormant until days when it rains. But no matter the lingering cold and inevitable wavering of weather, snowfall turns to downpour and we celebrate and dance in it together. This is our home and we listen to the music we love to release the tension we’d rather not mention but weighs our heavy hearts and soaring souls to the cold-coarse earth. We are a hard working people who indulge in good sounds created in the hands and hearts of medicine men and women who warrior the road over many miles and mountains making memories within all those who bathe in their creative and captivating melodies, tuned by time and space spent by each other’s side.
Blazing hot Michigan roots ensemble Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys have captivated the crowd with a sound that resides on the precipice of progress, commingling the past and what is yet to come. Gathered in a circle in their Michigan home, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys recorded their new album Ionia huddled close to a single microphone, where they organically blended vocals and instruments while detached from the surrounding world over a four-day period last autumn. Their spirit and commitment to one another make music with incredible kinetic motion, building until it bursts into joyous and playful feelings that free us from internalized burdens and bruises. Let yourself listen and be gently caressed while the stress in your skin and bones dissipates into the ether, leaving you calm, confident, and capable.
“Fall in Michigan is something to behold. Some of our favorite moments were standing on the big wrap around porch (pictured on the album cover) and watching the rain come down in sheets taking gusts of orange and yellow leaves with it.”
Fresh off my first Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, I had the pleasure of spending time with mandolinist Joshua Rilko, dobro player Mark Lavengood (Hug E Bear), bassist PJ George, and of course, Lindsay Lou. Here’s my conversation with the soulful sister that will sing you to the moon and back, before brunch.
Please retell the story you shared at Folk Alliance about the song you were given, “Roll with me baby but don’t slow me down.”
I heard the song at a music camp in New Hampshire called Miles of Music, which is hosted by Laura Cortese and Kristin Andreassen (of Uncle Earl). There’s a songwriting week before the camp, and that’s when Laura wrote the song with Zak Hickman (bassist with Josh Ritter). They performed it during the faculty concert at the beginning of the camp, and I loved it, so I asked her if I could potentially have the song to perform with the Flatbellys. She emailed me the demo and lyrics a few weeks after getting back from camp. Months later she was working with Sam Kassirer on her record (Sam is the same producer we worked with), and they ended up striking the song from potentials for her record, but he told her he thought it would be perfect for us and asked (without mentioning our name) if he could pitch it to us. When he did I laughed and chalked it up as a good sign that the song had come to me twice from two different directions.
You’ve been identified as a band on the verge of breaking out so to speak… talk about where you’ve been as a band, and what it feels like to be in the way to where you’re going?
We just finished the new record and it was a really exciting experience to work with a producer, especially one who invests in it like Sam does. Right now we’re working on putting together a solid team for its release and for moving forward. We’ve been road-dogging’ it for several years now touring nationally (coast to coast) and internationally (Germany and the UK) and we’re primed for this new record. I’m keen to see how it all rolls out.
What’s your favorite song to play with Greensky Bluegrass?
I have a hard time picking favorites, but I had so much fun doing Prince’s “1999” and George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” at the Royal Oak on New Years. That was a sweet time.
Have you considered approaching Care Bears in regards to licensing your music in a Hug E Bear focused push?
We have not, but I think if you mention the idea to Mark he’ll love it.
Looks like we will be celebrating birthdays together, share with us what you’ve heard about playing Otus Supply, and how it translates into your excitement?
You’re a March 4th baby, too? Groovy! We first heard about Otus Supply when Greg Burns, Greensky’s FOH sound engineer, asked us to participate in his afterparty NYE. I loved the energy and vibe of the room and I’m looking forward to playing our own show there.
What is it like to do what you love for a living, with the person/people you love?
Catch Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys Saturday, March 4th at Otus Supply in Ferndale with special guest The Understorey. Just in case you were listening for one, This is a Good Sound.