The Lone Bellow returned with their first single in nearly three years this summer when they dropped the big hearted toe-tapper “Time’s Always Leaving.” It’s the first single off their upcoming third LP, Walk Into A Storm, due Sept. 15. Today, EW is thrilled to premiere its charming, dance-party-inspiring video, which stars none other than Marc Menchaca — whose day job currently entails being the no-good Russ Langmore on Netflix’s Ozark.
“He’s an incredible dancer!” says frontman Zach Williams of picking his good friend to star in the clip. “Look at him go!” Menchaca has been busting out similar jives at the Lone Bellow shows since, well, there was the Lone Bellow. “I’m sure that he was at the very first show,” Williams adds. “My kids call him Cowboy Marc whenever he comes to stay at our house.”
As for the tune itself, Williams penned it a few years ago on a plane ride, a favored place for lyrics-dreaming. “I think about time a lot,” he says of cut’s inspiration. “It bothers me and I have anxiety about it. I have kind of like a ‘FOMO’ thing with time.” Originally written as a poem, lamenting time as a mistress or romantic partner who would come over but then quickly flee, it was soon updated to a slow ballad, just to be updated again to the version released this year, full of upbeat, irresistible grooves.
Similar tension between subject matter and musical backings exists all across Storm‘s forthcoming 10 tracks. The group partnered with Music City studio wiz Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) for the collection and found that he was able to help them pull back on their famously dense arrangements as well as identify which of the 60-plus songs they’d penned would make the cut. “He’d just be like, ‘That’s song’s not good enough. That one is — that one’s not,’” Williams recalls. The results crackle.
Thematically, time’s unstoppable march also appears elsewhere on the set: The stellar opening couplet, “Deeper in the Water” and “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy?” both wonder about the group’s commitment to their grueling tour schedule. “Are we focusing on the right things?” Williams asks by way of explanation. “Are we grateful or are we just whining? We’re basically family members now and [it becomes about] trying to take care of each other enough to where we can get to ground zero at a show and be aware of what’s going on in the room and with the crowd.”
Followed immediately is “May You Be Well,” the emotional center of the LP, which Williams wrote with his eldest daughter, Loretta, in mind. The singer considers all the time spent away from his daughter and sings, “What will your arms do when I’m not there to hold you?/ Will they find something else to hold onto?” Williams can’t wait to bring the soaring chorus to the stage. “Especially in this ridiculous time in our country and our world,” he says, “I think ‘may you be well’ is a timely thing to say, not only to a child but to ourselves.”
Walk Into a Storm is out Sept. 15 via Descendant/Sony Masterworks. It is currently available for pre-order.