It might seem odd that an Americana folk tribe like Herbert Bail Orchestra owes the birth of their latest single to a festival known for new-agey, electronic music. But it wasn't until their first appearance at Lightning in a Bottle a few years ago when the band says the song "You Are Beautiful" really came to life. They were playing dead last on the bill at of the lounge stages, joining in a sweaty, 20-minute jam session that didn't stop until around 3:30 a.m. As they rumbled through the chugging train beat and triumphant three-chord progression, frontman Anthony Frattolillo, improvised and shouted lyrics that would eventually solidify the song. They played for so long, they almost outlasted the festival.
"I think even one of the guys from the Do Lab came over and said 'okay, we really have to shut down now' because we were jamming on that song for so long," Frattolillo says. "And that was when the song was new, and that was years ago. It's funny how a song takes a long time to refine and mine it into what it will become."
Years later, a shimmering, studio version of the track premieres today on Heard Mentality. It's the first track from a forthcoming sophomore album from the LA-based band. Initially impressing critics with their 2013 debut The Future's in the Past, Frattolillo and company have enlisted the help of producer Chris Rondinella to bring songs like "You Are Beautiful" to full potential. The song builds on a crescendo of emotion that start's with Frattolillo's indignant, soulful voice, bolstered by a brass section, lumbering bass, guitar and keys. Like many of their songs, it carries a sweeping cinematic vibe in its approach to folk that promises to come through on the new record as well.
"I'd like to do an album that represents this landscape of this revival of Americana and folk music," Frattolillo says. "And actually, when you take everything out of it and strip it down, ["You Are Beautiful"] is actually a gospel song."
Preaching the gospel as a faithful artist and now a member of the team at LiB that helps build and book acts for the festival (happening this Memorial Day Weekend, from May 21-25 in Bradley, CA), Frattolillo says he's forever grateful for its role in one of the band's favorite songs.
"LiB is choose your own adventure and if people happen to choose Herbert Bail as their adventure, that's great. We hope to turn heads and you gotta make songs that do that. We probably wouldn't have developed it if we hadn't jammed on it for LiB and gotten the reaction we did."
Check out the song below.