Self-released on October 2, Nathaniel Bellows’ third album is aptly entitled, ‘Three’. The eight songs have also taken him three years to write, and started when his father’s health started to decline and then rapidly go into freefall. Bellows senior died in March last year, and although Nathaniel continued to keep writing after his father’s death, you quickly begin to see why the number means a lot to him.
Lead single, ‘In The Wool’, taken from the album, is an upbeat guitar led track, with the title drawn from the phrase, “dyed in the wool”, and it explores themes about who we are, what we believe, and whether or not those things which go into who we are in there already – dyed in the wool – or are they the product of our environment? Is it nature or nurture? Are we the people we were always meant to be, be it fate or destiny – or are we able to eke some sort of change in it ourselves?
Bellows’ vocals are unexpectedly raw and emotive; his gruff voice roars out at us, loudly and almost angrily. The singer is also a writer and visual artist, and with his previous albums, ‘Swan And Wolf’, and ‘The Old Illusions’, he’s designed and illustrated the artwork himself for both long players and singles.
‘Three’ is deeply personal, exploring the long drawn-out process of grieving for his father through his illness until his death, and the drawings which accompany each song are ones from a series he’s been working on since his father’s death.
Speaking about ‘Three’, Bellows, whose previous albums were also self-released but mostly self-produced, said,
“…given the intimate and personal nature of ‘Three’, I knew I needed to work with a producer. So I sent 6 demos to Malcolm Burn, who has produced, recorded and collaborated with the likes of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, and many more. He enthusiastically wrote me back, and we recorded Three in his home studio in Kingston, NY this past June, in the middle of the pandemic.”
Within the eight songs on ‘Three’, Bellows paints a sonic portrait of loss and losing, illness, and the dream of recovery for the ailing. It captures the whole new world which is the life that goes on for those of us left behind.
Watch the lyric video for ‘In The Wool’ below: