The Grand Rapids band has honed its sound over the past two years and officially releases its new album on Saturday at Long Road Distillers. Story, podcast, video.THE BAND: Bello Spark
THE MUSIC: Americana, harmony-laden indie-rock
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 8 p.m. Saturday at Long Road Distillers, 537 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids (with Ed Dupas opening); July 16 at Big Hart Brewing in Hart; Aug. 19 at Vander Mill Cider in Spring Lake
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Bello Spark is not the same band that started as a long-distance collaboration between musicians Tory Peterson and Rob Jordan a few years ago.
With Jordan in Chicago and Peterson in Grand Rapids, the partnership spawned a dark debut album that represented the duo’s fledgling foray into airy Americana music.
“Upon the release of our debut, we had not yet played a single show as a band,” said singer-guitarist Jordan. “Myself and Tory were the band. We basically arranged the album while we were recording it. It’s not perfect, but we are proud of it and believe it was a good start.”
Now, as a full-fledged five-piece band, Bello Spark has built on that “good start” to create an impressive, fleshed-out sophomore album that delivers striking harmonies, insightful songs and distinctive atmospheric-yet-rootsy music that really defines the group’s sound.
With singer-songwriter Cole Hansen aboard and the addition of Jay Kolk on drums and Joe Chamberlin on bass, the band aims to eventually hit “all major markets in the Midwest” later this year as it tours behind the new “Among the Lights” album that officially gets released Saturday at Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids. Get tickets — $7 advance, $10 at the door — and details online here.
‘WE KNOW BETTER WHAT WE ARE NOW’
Peterson, who plays guitar, noted that for the first album, “we found our sound while we were making the record. This time, we were playing a whole mess of shows not only before starting on this new record but during development of it, to even more so refine our sound and refine our different harmonies and different parts. We know better what we are now.”
During the two-year process of recording the album at Grand Rapids’ Mackinaw Harvest Music and playing more than 200 shows, Jordan said they “found a core group of people who are committed and are serious about making good music as a unit. You develop your sound so much in that time and become very connected musically and personally to your bandmates.”
Jordan, Hansen and Peterson recently made an appearance for Local Spins on WYCE to display their fetching harmonies and sonic approach. Listen to their on-air performance of two songs – “Good Things” and “Traveling Companion – in the Local Spins radio podcast here and view a video below.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE with Bello Sparks
Jordan – who moved back to Grand Rapids two years ago – credited Hansen for bringing the band “to a whole new level with her songs, harmonies and insight. She has really taught me how to sing much better.”
Both songwriters come “from the same place,” he insisted. “These songs are about personal experiences with love, inner struggle, loss, joy and perseverance. It’s definitely emotional music lyrically and musically. Much warmer and positive than our debut, too.”
After Saturday’s CD-release show at Long Road, with Ann Arbor singer-songwriter Ed Dupas opening, the band plays a few more summer concerts: July 14 at Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson, July 16 at Big Hart Brewing in Hart and Aug. 19 at Vander Mill Cider in Spring Lake. They’ll then take a break – with Peterson’s wife expecting the couple’s second baby – before resuming touring in the fall.
“One of the big goals in the near future,” Jordan said, “is to step up our game with live performance videos online.”
VIDEO: Bello Spark, “Good Things”
Video by David Specht
Copyright 2016, Spins on Music LLC