RR LogoJesse and Noah 2010 headline

Jesse and Noah Bellamy Photo 1Jesse and Noah are brothers and in the three years that this writer has known them, they have surely and steadily turned more and more heads in country music circles, because of their knack for writing good songs and their splendid vocal harmonies. The sons of David Bellamy of the infamous Bellamy Brothers best noted for their number one single “Let Your Love Flow,” and “Spiders and Snakes,” a song penned by David and one which became a # 5 hit for Jim Stafford, have established themselves from the beginning based on their own talent. For their new album Landfall, Jesse served as the primary songwriter and at times it seems as though Noah plays every instrument ever invented by man.  At the beginning of December Jesse and Noah Bellamy, who bill themselves simply as Jesse and Noah, sat down with me to talk about their album Landfall.

“I think our favorite stuff to listen to is traditional country and classic rock n roll and stuff like that. I think the stuff that we personally like the best is more in that vein and we listen to modern stuff, mainly to compete,” explains Jesse. “We like to do the traditional stuff and at the same time we want to stay current.”

 “The stuff that we ended up with is what we feel (reflects) the best singing and it is what we like to sing and play. We really like the songwriting part of country and then we like the great rock albums of the sixties and the seventies and the things that you could play all the way through,” Noah adds, surmising that his guitar playing draws inspiration from those sources. “When I got more into producing, I started hearing guitar parts a little differently and the kinds of tricks that people would use on albums, like layering different guitars.”

Jesse and Noah grew up in Central Florida, have hit it big on the Texas music charts and they are now living in Nashville. Since arriving in Nashville Jesse hooked up with songwriter Tim Schumacher to write the title track “Landfall.” 

“Tim is no longer living in Nashville, so we have not written together in a couple of years and some of the songs that I wrote with Tim and that are on the new album, are a little bit older. If I remember correctly, Tim had the title for that one and the idea was more about the daily grind of life. My girlfriend had recently lost her mother at that point and we were thinking about life and death. That first line “Traveling on a heartbeat,” just sort of came out and the song just wrote itself from there, really. It was actually pretty easy to write,” Jesse explains.

Jesse Bellamy and Tim Schumacher also collaborated on the song “Tryin’ To Keep It Real.”  “(The song) “Trying To Keep It Real,” is about trying to keep up in Nashville and trying to write things that are commercial when you really do not want to think about if they are commercial or not and you just want to write the song. “Tryin’ To Keep It Real,” was one of three songs that we wrote that day.  It is just about coming to Nashville and how tough it is to do what you feel. We go to a lot of meetings with labels and things like that and we have been told before, ‘You’re too good, maybe you need to dumb it down a little bit.’  After our first album, I went to meetings and they told me, ‘The problem is, you have written your third album fist.’ (He laughs) I don’t want to be put in that box,” says Jesse. 

Noah weighs in on the competitive nature of the Nashville music scene and the state of the music industry, “It is pretty tough, especially now it is tough, because they are not sure what is going to happen with the music industry in the next few years. They are not sure about who is really going to be left. We have gotten to (the place) where we are pretty self sufficient. We are going to make music no matter what and we do not have to rely on the industry to create music. We can create music on our own. There are a lot of artists who aren’t like that and they are going to need producers and things. They really don’t know what is going to happen and everybody is trying to guess and to position themselves appropriately, but nobody knows for sure.”

 Jesse and Noah realized one of the benefits of producing their own music, during the Christmas season of 2010, “We did a Christmas release “I Want Texas For Christmas,” for Texas radio and the song was written last week, we recorded it and it is on the radio this week. That has not happened in Nashville for a long time. I remember Danny Dill talking about writing “Long Black Veil,” (1959, co-written with Marijohn Wilkin) and it was like that. They wrote it in the morning, pitched it to Lefty Frizzell, they did the session the next day and it was on the radio the next week. That is a pretty amazing thing and I think that for a lot of it, the music is going to have to be able to keep up like that. We didn’t even plan to do a Christmas song and someone called and asked if we had one and we said, ‘Well we will work on it.’ That was pretty spontaneous,” says Jesse.

Jesse and Noah were also asked to write a theme song to chronicle the travels of Florida’s mystery monkey, a wild monkey that has roamed from city to city, before settling in the St. Petersburg area. They wrote the song one week and the next week it was being played on the radio.

The duo’s wide appeal to Texas country music fans shows up in their music, as “Dirty With A Southern Drawl,” could easily serve as a line dance, there are Texas waltzes and you can two-step until your heart is content.

Jesse muses, “I think with playing in Texas so much and with it being so dance oriented when you play in Texas, more so than in other parts of the country that it is the feel that you get used to.”

Jesse and Noah’s music video for the song “Dirty With A Southern Drawl,” is risqué in the classic pinup girl sense of the World War II era, before nudity seemed to be a prerequisite. The video is filled with images of vintage aircraft and yesteryear military vehicles.

Jesse talks about the response to the video which was unveiled in December, “We've gotten very positive feedback from people and from our Dad who loves the video. We really liked and were excited to do something a little different and more like a mini-movie. Both of our grandfathers are WW II vets so we grew up infatuated with the pop culture (movies, pinups, and music) of that time. I even have a pinup cowgirl tattoo. So, getting it all together in one video was really cool. Plus, did you see all of that equipment. that we got to drive, everything but the plane.”

 “The video director is Mike McCarthy in Memphis, Tennessee. He is a really interesting guy who has done quite a few other music videos, but never one for a country band. He is also an Elvis nut which made us love him. He is very informed on Memphis music and pop culture,” says Jesse.

Jesse and Noah collaborated with Steve Clark to write “Crackerjack Heart.”  “Steve wrote “I Would Be Better Off In A Pine Box,” for Doug Stone and he also had a big George Strait hit with “You Can’t Make A Heart Love Somebody.” In addition, to being a great songwriter, Steve is an antiques dealer who goes around to estate sales. He picked up a box of crackerjack toys and some of them were little crackerjack hearts. Being the great writer that Steve is, he got this idea (for a song) and when we were over there for dinner and not intending to write a song (we did) and we stayed until four in the morning, until we finished it off,” says Jesse.

 While the music scene may seem a bit uncertain, there is one thing that you can count on, the country music duo of Jesse and Noah are here to stay.

Music fans can preview Jesse and Noah's new album  Landfall here.