Americana trio the Lone Bellow tackle a complicated and difficult issue with a gritty performance that harnesses myriad emotions in “Just Enough to Get By,” a simmering, explosive new track from the forthcoming album, Half Moon Light. Written and sung by the group’s Kanene Donehey Pipkin, the tune’s subdued anger, emotional pain and sadness continue to build, begin to surface, and threaten to overflow. But instead, the potent release of these emotions pours out of Pipkin in a way that’s ultimately cathartic and redemptive.
“If silence is golden, I know a lot of wealthy women, buying what’s been sold them, buy anything but freedom,” Pipkin sings with loose, sinewy swagger. “Just Enough to Get By” reveals the true story of Pipkin’s mother, who was raped at 19, then sent away to have the baby that resulted. After returning home, she never spoke of what had happened. Then, four decades later, Pipkin’s half-sister, now a 40-year-old woman, found them.
“I’ve met my half-sister many times,” says the singer in a statement. “She’s wonderful and lovely and an amazing story of something never being too broken to be fixed. But my mom had to work through the trauma. This song was me putting myself in my mom’s place, releasing a lot of complex emotions. Anger is definitely one of them. Hurt, frustration, sadness. We all have experiences that could be better if we could talk about them, but we keep them hidden.”
Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, Half Moon Light will be released February 7th. The band will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday, January 31st, for the Ann Arbor Folk Fest. Their official album release show takes February 7th at Rough Trade in New York, followed by a two-night stand at L.A.’s fabled Troubadour February 12th and 13th, with additional Half Moon Light Tour dates currently slated through May.