“What do I love about 'Ionia'? Let's keep it simple. Everything. The songs are great. The playing is superb...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.” — Paul Hoffman of Greensky Bluegrass
“Mountain Stage capped off its 32nd year of live performance radio with a birthday show filled with gobsmacking talent (Josh Ritter! Amy Helm! Noah Gundersen! The Cactus Blossoms!). But it was Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys...whose alt-bluegrass sound made 500 audience members swoon.” — Joni Deutsch, WVPB's Mountain Stage
“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.” — Seth Bernard, Founder, Earthwork Music
“Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys are a fresh new voice in modern bluegrass, with driving instrumentals and a straight-from-the-still quality to Lindsay's voice...If you're a fan of broad-based bluegrass with a strong infusion of creativity and intelligence, Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys is a band you definitely need to check out.” — Bluegrass Unlimited
“Lindsay Lou is a dynamic vocalist who fronts the bluegrass quartet "Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys"...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. ” — Audiotree
“...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.” — Ken Sears, If It's Too Loud
“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.” — American Roots UK
“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'.” — Ed Malachowski, No Depression
“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.” — John Bommarito, WQKL
“..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.” — For the Country Record
“Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys bring new life to bluegrass. Outstanding vocals along with exceptional musical chops will keep you wanting more.” — Dave Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass
“Lindsay & the Flatbellys were AWESOME. I had so much fun last night. Next time they are in town or passing through PLEASE let me know. I love their sound loved their show just simply WOW.” — Michelle Lee, On The Bluegrass Borderline
“Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys and I (as well as 40,00 listeners) had a splendid afternoon on KPFA yesterday. What an amazing singer - bluesy, blowsy, provocative, a rich smoky alto. I can't say enough about her totally unique and entertaining style.” — Ray Edlund, KPFA
“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. ” — John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com
“Sometimes, the vocalist's prowess is enough to elevate a band from the ranks of their contemporaries. But it's not just Lindsay Lou's vocals that will make Release Your Shrouds the latest addition to your music collection. The tight-knit lyrics and infectious joy in The Flatbellys' songs will make you stop whatever you're doing and cock an ear. The band's skill is breath-taking, and it's obvious through their playing that there is nothing they'd rather do more than come together and make music.” — Rachel, Adobe and Teardrops
“This is a very unique band, part of the leading edge of the revival and revolution in acoustic music..Imagine hearing Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs for the first time after years and years of clawhammer banjo at barn dances. In come these two guys in hats and ties and set the barn on fire. You fall backwards off the hay bale and can barely breathe... Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys are kinda' like that the first time you hear them.” — John Hart, New Folk Radio
“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
“Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys - an intersection of sparkly new songs and robust instrumental licks, with a nod to the roots of tradition. Great music from great people! Go see them as soon as possible.” — Jeff Rose, Detour Bluegrass
“Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys are an ideal festival band. They can rock the stages with their heartfelt, rootsy sound and offer wonderful workshops as well as invigorate campground and campfire song circles. At the Earthwork Harvest Gathering this year, they were a favorite of the attendees because of their fantastic performances, and they were also a favorite of the festival organizers because they pitched in with volunteer work and spread music and good cheer the whole time they were here.” — Seth Bernard, Earthwork Music
“Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys have jumped into the forefront of today's progressive roots music movement.” — Devon Leger, Prescription Bluegrass
“...pretty much irresistible, and while that's partly because of the high-spirited virtuosity of the pickers, most of the credit goes to the irrepressible Lindsay Rilko, whose singing manages to be simultaneously gentle and vivacious, rootsy and swinging. Bluegrass is the touchstone genre here, but Rilko and her cohorts veer off cheerfully into swing and rockabilly as well. This one is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.” — CD Hotlist
Words can barely describe how very impressed and thoroughly entertained we all were! Had a really good turnout and they had us riveted to our seats.” — Betty Trowbridge, Black Hawk Folk Society
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys' “music, whilst steeped in American roots has a contemporary twist that brings brightness and originality to their sound. Familiar threads of swing jazz, pre-war American music and progressive bluegrass are at the core but with this they bring a sophistication to their arrangements that make them so ear catching.” — Folk Rado UK
“If you are looking for ancient and soulful tones with a modern rootsy twist, that is exactly what you'll find when listening to Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys. Putting on their CD it reminds me of listening to an old 45 RPM. Each song is unique, entertaining, and flows easily into the listener's ears. Lindsay and the boys will surely win your heart!” — Caroline Colie, Acoustic Trail
“Lindsay Lou, backed by the Flatbellys, dishes up a style of Americana with a powerful vocal style that recalls Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.” — The Lansing City Pulse
“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
“Once in awhile you hear a record and think 'This couldn't be new. It sounds timeless.' When I hear Lindsay Lou sing and the Flatbellys play, I am transported to another time. Lindsay's voice is among the most beautiful, authentic, and classic sounding you will ever hear.” — John Bommarito, WQKL
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.
Over the course of four days during a Michigan autumn, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys holed up in their home to record their new album. Gathered in a circle, aound one microphone, forcing them to lean closer and closer, blending vocals and instruments organically, and to listen with the kind of musical precision that's all too rare these days. “We didn't leave the house for those four days except to walk around the block and get some air”, Lindsay explains. “Fall in Michigan is something to behold. Some of our favorite moments were standing on the big wrap around porch (pictured on the album cover) and watching the rain come down in sheets taking gusts of orange and yellow leaves with it.” Holed up against the elements, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys turned to each other for support, and this closeness is easily evident in the uncommon depth and sensitivity of their ensemble playing.
Listen to the new album from Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and you'll hear a band at the very top of its game. A band uncommonly attuned to each other, the product of near-constant touring and live shows made legend by their infectious, high-energy performances. Performing live, the Flatbellys delight in swapping instruments back and forth, and this is preserved on the album as well, with each band member taking turns on each other's instruments. There's a great sense of play and warmth in their music as well — just listen to the fantastically sarcastic Criminal Style or the lovely housewarming song House Together — no doubt bolstered by long car rides and a strong camaraderie between the band members. But much of the power of this interplay comes from the impressive mastery each member shows over their instruments. Mandolinist Joshua Rilko picks with a careful precision that turns surprising when he slams into speedy power chords, dobro player Mark Lavengood is remarkably deft at matching melody lines with quick responses, and bassist PJ George creates bass lines cleverly crafted to uphold the whole structure of the songs. Leading the group, Lindsay Lou has the kind of voice you can get lost in. One part jazz singer, effortlessly transitioning octaves, one part blues shouter, soaring over the band like a clarion call, and one part folk singer, rousing them all together in song.
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.
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys