Bill and the Belles’ ‘Sobbin’ the Blues’ Tackles Divorce With Humor [Exclusive Premiere]
Bill and the Belles tackle marriage and divorce with a bit of humor in their new song "Sobbin' the Blues." The track's brand-new music video is premiering exclusively via The Boot; press play above to listen.
It's a simple concept: Bill and the Belles' guitarist Kris Truelsen sits on a home's front stoop, laying out all of the ways his "whole life's gone awry" since he tied the knot over a simple, old time melody. Maybe we shouldn't feel too bad for him, though: That literal raincloud that opens up over him -- and only him -- during the clip suggests that perhaps the metaphorical one is similarly individually sized.
Truelsen tells The Boot that "Sobbin' the Blues" came out of cathartic writing session in the wake of his divorce. As a whole, the song is, he says, "a pretty good fit in the tradition of talking blues."
"I’ve always loved Chris Bouchillon, the fella credited with the first talking blues. Legend has it the producer disliked his singing so much he just asked him to 'talk' some songs instead of singing them and now we have 'talking blues,'" Truelsen shares. "Like Bouchillon, I piled it on thick like a proper fried bologna sandwich with nothing but a chorus of sobs -- a perfect fit for a tired, old sob story."
"Sobbin' the Blues" is one of 11 brand-new songs, all written by Truelsen, on Bill and the Belles' forthcoming new album Happy Again. The record came out of Truelsen's divorce, but like "Sobbin' the Blues," its other songs offer a bit of levity and subversion regarding the topic. Teddy Thompson -- son of English folk-rock legends Linda and Richard Thompson -- produced the project, encouraging the band to use first or second takes only.
"This was one of the first times I felt like I was writing country songs like my heroes that were actually from my own perspective,” Truelsen says. “I quickly realized it made sense for us to break the rules.”
In addition to Truelsen, Bill and the Belles are fiddler Kalia Yeagle, bassist Andrew Small and Aidan VanSuetendael, the group's newest member, who replaced departing banjo player Helena Hunt. Listeners will also hear Nick Falk on electric guitar and percussion and Don Eanes on piano and B3 Hammond organ on Happy Again.
Founded in East Tennessee, Bill and the Belles, Truelsen says, want to "write songs that are hard to classify in a certain time period. To transcend the now." The band hosts the monthly variety program Farm and Fun Time, a Radio Bristol radio show that's syndicated to PBS stations in Roanoke, Va.; East Tennessee and North Carolina.
Happy Again is due out on May 21 via Ditty Boom Records and available for pre-order and to pre-save now.