Jesse and Noah Make ‘Landfall’ in Bellamy Brothers Tradition
With one listen to the engaging vocals and intriguing lyrics that distinguish the songs on their new album 'Landfall,' it's easy to see Jesse and Noah Bellamy have inherited the musical gifts that have propelled their father's career for more than 35 years. As two of David Bellamy's five sons, Jesse and Noah grew up under the tutelage of their dad and Uncle Howard, as the Bellamy Brothers have enjoyed one of country music's longest and most successful careers.
"I don't know if it was a conscious decision in any way," Jesse tells the Boot of the duo's decision to pursue a career in music. "We just started doing it and we kept doing it. I don't really feel like there was any decision ever made either one way or the other. It's just kind of what we naturally did."
"It was the only thing I was really any good at," adds Noah. "I was really bad at sports when I was a kid and better at music."
Once they began pursuing a career, settling on a name was a challenge, after all, "Bellamy Brothers" was already taken. "Somebody suggested the Bellamy Others," Noah says with a laugh.
'We went through some band names, but ultimately -- even when we were in a band with three other guys -- people would call us Jesse and Noah, so it was that.'
It's a crisp fall day and Jesse and Noah have welcomed The Boot into their Franklin, Tenn., home that boasts really cool retro décor and a state-of-the-art studio. "We tracked it here, we recorded it here and we mixed it here,' says Noah of 'Landfall,' their first release on Luna Chica Records, a Nashville-based indie label headed up by respected Music Row veteran Brenda Cline, who serves as Chief Operations Officer.
"We brought the album to them and they liked it," says Jesse. "We had the album done and already had plans to release the single. We were already moving with that and the Luna Chica deal came about, so we just continued with what we were doing. It's a small label and it's [operated] the same way that our dad has always ran his label."
Jesse and Noah grew up on the family's ranch in Darby, Fla., north of Tampa. "Everybody plays a little guitar and we all love music," Jesse says of siblings Noah, Cole, Dustin and Aaron. "All five of us are obsessed with music. I guess we were just kind of the oldest and started doing it first and the others just wanted to see if they could do something different."
Jesse and Noah hit the road early and began performing their unique brand of modern country in such prestigious venues as Tootsie's Orchid Lounge in Nashville, Billy Bob's in Fort Worth and New York's legendary rock club CBGB. The young siblings have also toured abroad, performing at festivals in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Wales, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The duo have developed a particularly strong fan base in Texas. Two of the singles from their 2008 album 'Nowhere Revisited' -- 'Daddy's Got a Shotgun' and 'Wild and Willin'' -- hit the Top 20 on the Texas Music Charts, and the brothers tour extensively in the Lone Star state. "Texas people like music to dance to and I think our music lends itself to people dancing," Noah says.
The brothers' new single, 'First Call After Last Call,' is generating strong buzz from Texas to Tennessee. "We thought it would do really well in Texas and knew that we had a pretty good following there," Jesse says. "It just seems like a Texas song. We really thought of it as kind of an 'Urban Cowboy'-era throwback, like retro country music. So Texas was kind of the obvious place to start because of the foothold we had there."
During a recent album-release party at the Luna Chica offices, Jesse and Noah performed songs from 'Landfall' and also debuted their new video for the tune 'Dirty With a Southern Drawl,' an innovative clip that combines a World War II theme with playful images of pin-up girls doing their part to aid the war effort.
The songs on 'Landfall' definitely showcase Jesse and Noah's versatility. "The heart of it is country," Noah says in describing their sound. "There are a lot of other influences. The songs on the album are all pretty different from each other. There are a wide variety. Most of them aren't like anything else. There is everything from 'First Call,' which is traditional sounding to stuff that's kind of out there. There should be something for every one."
When playing 'First Call' a Nashville DJ mistakenly announced the song as the new release from the Bellamy Brothers. Though they are definitely out to make a name for themselves, Jesse and Noah no longer bristle at comparisons to their dad and Uncle Howard.
"I think we used to shy away from it a little or used to try to do a little more rock stuff just to get away from it," Jesse admits. "But you get to a point where you just accept it and really realize that it's not a bad thing at all."