Eclectic Americana from the Heart of America's Third Coast!



When Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys found each other jamming at open mics and music festivals around Michigan they couldn’t have predicted what would lie ahead of them. Touring behind the release of their most recent record, Ionia, they’ve been featured in the lineup of prestigious affairs such as The Shetland Island Folk Festival 200 miles north of mainland Scotland, Stagecoach Music Festival in California with 55,000 attendees, The Bluegrass Jamboree in Germany, and a number of the best acoustic music festivals in the US including Merlefest in North Carolina, Wheatland Music Festival in Michigan, Strawberry Music Festival in California, Redwing Roots Festival in Virginia, ROMP in Kentucky, and Pagosa Springs Folk Festival in Colorado. They were named one of NPR Music’s 12 best live performance sessions of 2015 by Mountain Stage with Larry Groce, a program which has featured acts like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Amos Lee, Joan Baez, Regina Spektor, Norah Jones and PHISH. The summer of 2017 will see them performing for the first time at Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado and Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Upstate New York, and they expect to release their next full length album, which was produced by Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Elephant Revival) in early 2018.

Having earned their name late night at a Michigan Bluegrass festival from a fellow picker who proclaimed, "It's good to see you Flatbellys out here pickin with us Greybeards," today Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys keep one foot in The Great Lakes State and the soul of Motown, and one in Music City, USA: Nashville, TN. They still embody the soul of a good jam or late night pickin’ session, and also have honed in on a sound that’s entirely their own drawing from soul, blues, folk, jazz and maybe even a traces of that techno beat. When asked what he thought about LLFBs new record, lead singer and mandolinist of the highly acclaimed band Greensky Bluegrass said, “What do I love about 'Ionia'? Let's keep it simple. Everything.” Scroll down to read more of Paul Hoffman’s review as well as an extensive collection of press quotes.

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Hi-res photo of the band

LINDSAY LOU

JOSH

HUGGY

PJ

PRESS


"On their new album, Ionia, blazing hot Michigan roots ensemble Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys rest on the cusp of change, poised at that moment where everything shifts into high gear and time rushes forward. As a tight-as-hardwood stringband, these ace players know how to sustain this moment expertly, relishing the tension between the past, which keeps pulling them backwards, and the future they’re about to rush into. You can hear this tension musically on their new album, especially on the leading song “Hot Hands,” which rabbits playfully between off meters, rapid-fire picking, stop-and-go bass lines, and steamy vocals that surge back and forth. There’s incredible kinetic motion in this music, a sense of movement so exacting and precise that it’s almost architectural. The instruments and the bedrock of the band may come from bluegrass, but the music that Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys present on their new album Ionia can best be described as Americana. This is music that’s caught between the pull of the past and the push of the beckoning future, ready to leap forward bursting with new ideas and youthful energy."    -- DEVON LEGER - HEARTH MUSIC


"This is what happens when musicianship serves the heart and soul. This is what happens when 4 people travel 50,000 miles a year together in the same vehicle and have music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is what happens when the family band makes a record in the living room and the music arrives with the vibe of the place and time permanently imbedded within it. This is next-level Lou-Grass. It could not have happened without John Hartford and Doc Watson and it could not have happened in the 20th century. This the acoustic soul of the Great Lakes on a pilgrimage to Nashville. This is the magic of the moment between bandmates who have put in the time it takes to raise the bar. This is Ionia, baby. Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys have earned it."    -- Seth Bernard - Founder, Earthwork Music


"What do I love about 'Ionia'? Let's keep it simple. Everything. The songs are great. The playing is superb. The choices that LL & tFB make on this record are fantastic. Lindsay's soulful voice, intriguing lyrics and creative melodies are passionate and captivating. The interplay between dobro and mandolin is elegant and so sonically pleasant that it's deceptively simple. It's sexy. Unique harmonies elevate amazing songs to unexpected heights. I predict this album is the kind that will grow on you. not in a i-didn't-like-it-at-first way. More the now-I-need-this-music way. "    -- Paul Hoffman - Greensky Bluegrass


"Warm and friendly, real and true - like the "old song" beguiling singer Lindsay Lou reminisces about in the eponymous track on their new record - Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys cozies up next to your ears and whispers, thumps, hollers and tremolos you to a feeling of happiness that formerly only dusty dance-floors, the sweeping shuffle of boots, and the arterglow of moonshine could conjure up. These extremely capable practitioners of acoustic sounds are a rarified genuine-article; pretense-free, welcoming, and ready to deliver the handmade goods."    -- Kai Welch -


"Call it what you want, Bluegrass, Lougrass, whatever! I call it great music. A gifted vocalist surrounded by equally gifted musicians playing their own brand of music is a can't miss for this music fan. The band's third full length contains more of what I've loved about the band since being introduced to the husband and wife team of Lindsay Lou and Joshua Rilko in an in-studio performance at the radio station I work at. Personal highlights from 'Ionia' are their beautiful take on May Erlewine's "The River Jordan" as well as "The Fix,"Hot Hands," & "Ionia." "    -- John Bommarito - Ann Arbor's 107.1 (WQKL-FM)


"For all of those who assumed Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys were just another peppy bluegrass band, think again. The band’s latest album, “Ionia,” is a surprising, vocally stunning and instrumentally adroit foray into gorgeously melancholy indie-folk and charming folk-pop with instantly addictive harmonies and hooks. Recorded in, yes, the small town of Ionia, this album resonates with an intimacy that makes listeners feel like they’re sitting in a living room while these confident players do their thing, pushing the traditional boundaries of bluegrass with an appealing Michigan flair. "    -- John Sinkevics - LocalSpins.com


""As a vocalist, Lindsay falls into an elite category - those who can sing anything you throw their way. I've known and have been fortunate to have worked with a few of these individuals over the years: Charlie Waller, Keith Whitley, Linda Williams & Moondi Klein, to name a few and attribute that association to my having developed into a more well-rounded player. Lindsay will have that effect on the players around her as well, while she is honing her already sharp vocal skills and recording new material which should please any 'well-rounded listener'. Check her out and you'll hear for yourself what I'm saying!" "    -- Jimmy Gaudreau - Mandolinist


"Lindsay really puts her heart into what she sings and how! She sings the way you would want to if'n you could. Phrasing, tone, emotion, it's all there. Effortless seemingly. Simply mesmerizing. Riveting! Don't miss the musical force that is Lindsay Lou."    -- David Grier - 3-time IBMA Guitar Player of the Year


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REVIEWS

Lindsay Lou is a dynamic vocalist who fronts the bluegrass quartet "Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys". Their new album, Ionia, features Lou's soaring rasp cutting through the band's constant chord movement. It's an energetic take on traditional folk, balancing classic progressions with solos that rip. The Flatbellys have hearts in old Appalachia but were brewed by the Midwest Blue Collar work ethic. With this approach, they've crafted catchy tunes driven by a deep love for roots music.
READ MORE: Audiotree - LIVE VIDEO SESSION
"Hot Hands", the first track off of the LP, is a charming number with a particularly cool mandolin riff at its center (check the picked harmonic note). The catchy and clever riffs recall the sharp "popgrass" stylings of groups like the Punch Brothers and Joy Kills Sorrow. Below you can view an intimate session recording of the song, where each musician is given a chance to shine instrumentally.
READ MORE: PopMatters - VIDEO PREMIERE of HOT HANDS by Brice Ezell
The ability to make a record with live takes comes from lots and lots of playing together -- something the group has done during their years of touring. And, just like they do in their shows, the Flatbellys swapped instruments on the album, as well. Nestled in with the playfully plucky lead single, "Hot Hands," and the front-porch picking party that is the title track, "House Together" is something of a laid-back affair. It bops along with a modestly soulful vibe and proves that, even in bluegrass, less can sometimes be more ... until it comes to facial hair.
READ MORE: The Bluegrass Situation - VIDEO PREMIERE of HOUSE TOGETHER by Kelly McCartney
If you haven't heard Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys in a while, you might be surprised by their new look and sound.
READ MORE: Bluegrass Today - VIDEO PREMIERE of HOUSE TOGETHER by John Lawless
The live vibe is an attestation to the fact that they cut all of the album live, in the town of Ionia in Michigan where they had taken a house together for that purpose. The band has recently made the move to Nashville, where they are practicing their alt-bluegrass arts from a Music City home base. For this video, recorded for Audio Tree TV, they have chosen Everything Changed from the new album.
READ MORE: Bluegrass Today - VIDEO PREMIERE of EVERYTHING CHANGED by John Lawless
The album is this purely chill collection of bluegrass tinged folk. It reminds me of Lake Street Dive with more folksy influences than jazz. There are still touches of jazz in the album, most particularly in Lindsay Lou's smoldering torch singer voice. Maybe a better comparison would be if The Punch Brothers and Lake Street Dive formed a super group.
READ MORE: If It's Too Loud - ALBUM REVIEW by Ken Sears
It was fascinating to watch them (and listen to them) trading instruments; the only instrument played by only one person was the dobro (which was strictly Mark's turf), but they all appeared and sounded extremely comfortable on all the instruments they played.
READ MORE: No Depression - CONCERT REVIEW by Suze Uttal
With a voice that can accommodate folk, blues and jazz she is the focal point of the album. Her phrasing is elastic enough to navigate the twists and turns that some of the songs undertake although she never veers into vocalese. In addition when the band turn their attention to a more traditional sounding song such as on the excellent River Jordan she carries it off as if she were a born and raised Baptist soul singer.
READ MORE: No Depression - ALBUM REVIEW by Paul Kerr
This is music that's caught between the pull of the past and the push of the future, ready to leap forward bursting with new ideas.
READ MORE: No Depression - MP3 PREMIERE of HOT HANDS
...a wonderfully rootsy sound from the outset that is driven by the band's incessant energy... It's not hard to figure out that these are extremely talented and charismatic musicians.
READ MORE: For the Country Record - MP3 PREMIERE of EVERYTHING CHANGED by Vickye
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys come into their own.
READ MORE: No Depression - LLFB History Lesson by Jeremy D. Bonfiglio
Ionia has a spirit and warmth to it that is hard to fake. The musicianship is exceptional-these are excellent players. Lindsay Lou has a singular, versatile voice. Together, they've made a joyful, impressive album that sounds like nothing else.
READ MORE: PopShifter - ALBUM REVIEW by Melissa Bratcher
This auspicious debut is being tagged as roots, Americana and bluegrass-all true-but I also hear more than a trace of jazz. The eclectic program owes much to the fine vocalizing of lead singer Lindsay Lou.
READ MORE: themotronreport.com - ALBUM REVIEW by Jeff Burger
This tremendously talented 'stringband' have genuinely updated that old genre from the early days of recording and in many ways made themselves unique in the process. This really is an album of stringband music for the 21st century and beyond with twelve excellent songs, virtuosic playing and Lindsays beautiful manipulative vocal style linking so well with the instrumentation that there is often an improvisational feel to this fascinating album. Her voice meanders it's way through these songs portraying an aggressive edge where it is called for and great tenderness where that is required taking the listener on an emotional roller coaster
READ MORE: American Roots UK - ALBUM REVIEW
In the hands of some bands, the diversity might leave listeners puzzled about exactly what the band is about. With Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, the changes only underscored the fact that these folks got the talent and chops to manage just fine.
READ MORE: Country Standard Time - ALBUM REVIEW by Jeffrey B. Remz
The band plays with the precision of a Swiss watch with the final result as the proverbial bell sounds... For over a week I listen almost continuously to this diverse and energetic bluegrass album. A delicious addiction!
READ MORE: (IN DUTCH) Folk Lantern - ALBUM REVIEW by Hans Jansen
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys are only on their second album, Ionia, and it keeps getting better.
READ MORE: Elmore Magazine - Folk Alliance Review by Suzanne Cadgene
In small rural towns across America Friday night is high school sports night. Everyone collects at the field/gymnasium about 6:30 and watches the local kids take on the town-down-the-road kids. In autumn it's football, winter means basketball, and spring is for track & field. Because the school is so small, all the kids play all the sports. So Dave Jr. plays quarterback, power forward, and runs hurdles. JP plays running back, point guard, and distance runs. Butch is defensive tackle, center, and shot-put. That's my analogy for Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys. As I was listening to their new album, Ionia, I started making notes about tasty little instrumental licks. Then I looked at the liner notes and aside from Lindsay Lou taking the anchor position on vocals, everyone in the band seems to play every instrument. And if Ionia is any indicator, they're going to win the state championship in *something*.

Several songs on the album have a syncopated rhythm that reminded me of the Wood Brothers. Hot Hands, the opener, starts things off right with its finger-snapping dobro part from Mark Lavengood. Everything Changed backs off the staccato-ness and throws out more of a Colorado bluegrass vibe, as does The River Jordan. Criminal Style is probably my favorite tune on the record as an ode to traveling pals Thelma and Louise and the idea that you'd love someone enough to help them "find a place to hide the body."

There are also a number of strong ballads powered by Lindsay Lou's torch singer vocals. Old Song, a tribute to someone's grandparents somewhere, wraps you with a warm blanket of unconditional love and a sound that's completely familiar yet a new Flatbellys composition. Smooth & Groovy finishes the disc with some more of the serious syncopation, but this time Lindsay Lou belts out the lyrics as well as any of the legendary blues singers I ever saw back in Chicago.

The whole record was recorded in 4 days in a house in Ionia, Michigan. It definitely has a continuity that's hard to capture in a studio where everyone is coming and going. As the album cover states, "amidst the rains of October and the glowing Michigan maple leaves, we captured these 12 songs with trueness, nowness, and sincerity." Just like that small town feel. Go Team!
READ AT SOURCE: Twangville - ALBUM REVIEW by Shawn Underwood
Occasionally you come across an album where the music springs from the speakers in a rush of invention and joie de vivre so palpable you have no choice but to sit back and surrender. It's a fine line between sugar highs and sustainable pleasure - Ionia doesn't so much walk that line as dance along it with little care for the drop below - there's a strong sense of conviction within these grooves that ensures a healthy balance is maintained. This is partly down to a live recording, the band huddled around microphones over four intense days, partly a crisp production that allows the listener equal reference to the array of traditional instruments employed, but mostly, as you would expect with all good albums, it's about the songs. There's plenty to be shiny and happy about here.
READ AT SOURCE: Folk Radio UK - ALBUM REVIEW by PAUL WOODGATE
It is infectious and joyful, soulful even. ...This enthusiastic energetic band is confidently, assuredly, proving to live audiences that thoughful songwriting can be a "joyful 'belly full'." Get yourself some.
READ AT SOURCE: No Depression - Q&A INTERVIEW by Ed Malachowski
Michigan string band Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys recorded this latest album in the dining room, rather than the cellar, of their house in Ionia but it has not a little of the holed-up-in-the-Big-Pink-club-room quality of Bob Dylan and The Band's Basement Tapes.
READ AT SOURCE: HeraldScotland - ALBUM REVIEW by Rob Adams
What else can I say? Please, check this out! Repeat and repeat again. It might be the best tight 'live in a room' production I've ever heard.
READ AT SOURCE: Insurgent Country - ALBUM REVIEW by Johanna B. Bodde
...theres something so pure and breathtaking when a group of musicians get together to produce an album solely using their voices and a variety of instruments. At first listen of Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys new album, Ionia, it becomes apparent that the band took to an old fashion, organic way of creating their music.
READ AT SOURCE: Word Krapht - ALBUM REVIEW by Melissa Landrin
Ionia possesses a warm, groovy sparseness that allows the group to project a clear and bright set of music that reminds one of Edie Brickell fronting a really strong acoustic band. It is gorgeous.
READ AT SOURCE: The Lonesome Road Review - ALBUM REVIEW by Donald Teplyske
IClassy and eclectic set of rootsy Americana. This is a band that has taken the tropes of old-time music and brought something new to it. Their evident joy in the playing communicates itself to the listener and their grooves get them moving
READ AT SOURCE: Americana UK - ALBUM REVIEW by Jeremy Searle
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