Lindsay Lou wants to tell you a story. She says her life is full of stories tailor-made for folk songs, and many of them show up in the youth-infused traditional music of her band, The Flatbellys.
“I have an aunt that robbed a couple of banks. My parents grew up next to each other. My dad’s grandfather built the house my mother’s family moved into,” she said. “There’s a well to draw from. I have a big family.”
The Michigan group will share Lou’s stories at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at WPSU Studios as a part of the Acoustic Brew concert series. One of the concert organizers saw Lou and her band perform in Memphis at the Folk Alliance conference, and the group quickly rose up the series’ wish list.
Armed with all the traditional twang and spirit, Lou and her band bubble up with a jazzy Americana that is fun, light and danceable.
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“These younger bands, they hear the classic and the older stuff,” Acoustic Brew organizer Adam McMillen said. “It goes in one ear and comes out their fingers as a completely different thing.”
McMillen said that if a band can make a statement at an event like Folk Alliance with hundreds of groups and people — it’s a statement. Lou attributes her band’s unique sound to nothing more than — you guessed it — their stories.
“It’s a natural state of what is,” she said. “We play through our own lens and times. We are a product of our environment.”
Lou said she is thankful to have the background and upbringing that creates a new sound. The music the band makes is inspired by different factors, including growing up in Michigan and listening to a lot of Bill Monroe.
“I’m not in a band from the Appalachian Mountains. I am a women from the Great Lakes State,” she said. “It sounds different because it is different, and we are fortunate to have this window and a way to approach music.”
Linsday Lou and the Flatbellys will kick off a four-show Acoustic Brew season this fall. Over the next four months, the series once again will host an array of musical flavors, starting with the Midwestern jazz-folk of Lou and the Flatbellys this weekend. On Oct. 19, Acoustic Brew will host an Italian musician who plays roots music, Beppe Gambetta.
“He’s got this love of American music that drips from his songs,” McMillen said. “He’s a guy we’ve always wanted to get and we’re happy to have him coming.”
The final two performances are return engagements. McMillen said the Nov. 14 show by Alash brings back one of the most popular acts in Acoustic Brew’s 21-year history. The group masters Tuvan throat singing, a technique of singing multiple pitches at the same time. Wrapping up the season on Dec. 14 at Lemont’s Center for Well Being is New England roots singer-songwriter Bill Staines.
“These are the two acts that blew people’s hair back,” McMillen said. “It’s not just the organizers clamoring to see these guys. We expect these shows to be quick sellouts.”