By Damian Fanelli
Today, GuitarAficionado.com presents the premiere of “Loving Arms,” a new song by the Austin-based Bellfuries.
The song is from the band’s latest album, Workingman’s Bellfuries, which will be released August 21 via Hi-Style Records.
“Loving Arms,” which kicks off the new album, begins like a super-catchy slice of modern, melodic pop—like something you’d hear as part of a Super Bowl halftime show. Until the glorious 16-second mark, that is. That’s when the chugging guitars, standup bass and drums enter the picture, and the song gets even catchier.
That’s also the moment when everything falls perfectly into place, and you realize you’re hearing a truly modern, original take on rockabilly. Let’s call it rockabilly pop—because that’s pretty much a perfect description.
Workingman’s Bellfuries is the band’s third album. They released an undisputed modern-rockabilly masterpiece, Just Plain Lonesome, in 2001, following it up in 2008 with Palmyra, a full-on folk-ish rock/pop album that clearly left the roots behind. With Workingman’s Bellfuries, however, the Bellfuries have returned to roots-rock/Ameripolitan territory, something they do incredibly well (be sure to check out the live video at the bottom of this story).
Perhaps Static put it best, calling the new album “contemporary rock-n-roll that’s the cat’s pajamas.”
“We’re a rock and roll band,” says Joey Simeone, the band’s vocalist and chief songwriter. “People are obsessed with categories, sub-genres. We check into a hotel, and the guy or girl behind the desk asks what kind of music we play. ‘Rock and roll.’ Then they ask what I mean by that. Well…
“Let’s see. There’s elements of country music, rhythm and blues. There’s some improvisation on stage that I guess you could say is jazz-inspired. Throw in some gospel…plenty of melodies coming out of older pop tunes. That adds up to rock and roll, last time I checked. If we’re not re-inventing the wheel, I’d rather get to work than worry about renaming it.”
There’s an undeniable Beatles influence on Workingman’s Bellfuries, which is underscored by a rocking new cover of Lennon/McCartney’s “She’s a Woman.” In fact, “Loving Arms” seems—lyrically, at least—to be inspired by Arthur Alexander’s “Soldier of Love,” which the Beatles recorded for the BBC in the early Sixties. Of course, they take things to “chemical warfare” extremes on “Loving Arms” (it is 2015, after all).
Other standout tracks include “Bad Seed Sown,” “Why Do You Haunt Me,” “Letter to My Maybe Baby” and “Beaumont Blues.”
The Bellfuries are Joey Simeone (vocals, guitar), Jeff Seaver (bass), Mike Molnar (lead guitar) and Chris Sensat (drums).