LISTEN: Joe Vann Fashions Elegantly Stark Folk Ballad Via “The Bells”

Joe Vann’s new record is a literal and spiritual homecoming. The singer-songwriter’s debut solo LP, Found In The Smoke, is an intimate rummage through his past: it weds the freewheeling experimental aesthetics of his beloved indie band, From Indian Lakes, with the music traditions on which he was reared while growing up in a trailer on an acreage in rural northern California. The result is an emo-meets-outlaw Americana love letter—like Justin Vernon and Townes Van Zandt locked in a cabin in the Sierra Nevada for months—with phosphorescent synths, hushed vocals, and hardy guitar work.

Vann’s latest single, “The Bells”, is an elegantly stark folk ballad that proves you don’t always need a big roster of musicians and heavy production to make a big impact. The stripped-down aesthetic and whispered vocals make it comparable to early Iron and Wine albums both in execution and the ability to use an unassuming approach that creeps up and, before you know it, has you completely wrapped up in rich imagery and easily relatable yet open-ended storytelling. “The Bells” is off Vann’s Ep 2022 Spring Sessions, released on April 20th. 

“The Bells’ is a song I wrote when I was young in my parent’s garage. I originally recorded the demo on an 8-track system and burned several other songs onto a CD to sell while on a living room tour of the country. It is a song about the reflection of young love and the things that hold such huge weight in different times of your life. Looking back and reflecting on the lyrics, it means more to me today than it did when I wrote it. Some songs evolve with us,” says Vann

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