Sometimes, a musical project just kind of happens – without a grand scheme or a great deal of planning. That is exactly the case of what happened with veteran country performers The Bellamy Brothers. Their new album, "The Bellamy Brothers & Friends," just kind of fell together organically.
"We didn't go out and choose to do this project," allowed David Bellamy. "It just sort of evolved." The album is a collection of collaborations with acts such as Crystal Gayle, Carlene Carter, and Country Music Hall of Fame member Kris Kristofferson, who offers a semi-reggae version of "Me And Bobby McGee." The disc also features performance from some of the Swiss music's biggest acts such as Oesch's die Dritten, Nina Reber, and Gola. Though they had collaborated with the latter before, David admitted the brothers had to do some research. "Some of the artists in the beginning we didn't know, so we had to get familiar with them. Others we knew and had done shows with in the past, so we were real excited about working with them. In the end, all the artists were very interesting to cut with."
Though they enjoyed the entire experience of recording the album, David admitted there was a favorite on the project – the yodeling group known as Oesch's die Dritten. "We met them over the last few years. Originally, we met Melanie, the one that yodels, and we thought it was just her. Then, we met this whole Alpine family. It was the most amazing band you've ever heard of. That was a really cool track to cut," he said.
The Bellamy Brothers & Friends also contains "36 Cents," a collaborative effort with Kristin Ash and frequent recording partners The Bacon Brothers. Howard Bellamy says the two pairs of siblings have become quite close over the past few years. "They have gotten be really good friends. They got a lot of mileage out of it, and have done some things in Switzerland since the project. It was promoted really heavily there."
The new project definitely qualifies as the most unique the Bellamys have ever released, particularly with its' international flavor. Getting to paint outside the lines of normalcy – a Bellamy tradition – is something that David says helps to keep things fresh.
"That's what keeps you alive," he says. "A song like the yodel, we grew up playing music like that with our dad as kids – but we couldn't yodel like that. It was like having that old stuff we grew up on, and having one of the world's best yodelers step in and take the lead."
Howard and David have are touring steadily through mid-November, and recently made a Nashville-area stop at the refurbished Franklin Theatre, where things got a little rowdy, according to Howard. "There's not many places like that around Nashville to play, where you have a real listening audience. They kind of got up like our road crowd – we had some ‘Redneck Girls' show up, and it almost turned into a brawl for a minute, but that's the way we like it."
Though the guys have just released new music, the Bellamys confess there is plenty cooking for the future. "We're working on a few things," said Howard. "We're always recording. We've got European projects that we're planning, we've had a pretty successful run with Universal over there. We've got some more recordings with Gola, and we're doing a book – but we're not saying what it is. We're targeting it for our 40th anniversary, which is coming up in 2015."