Though 2019 is still in its infant stages, it’s already been a banner year for the Bellamy Brothers. Siblings Howard and David have a new album, “Over the Moon,” in release, are in the final leg of the Friends & Heroes 2019 tour with Blake Shelton, and are celebrating the second season of their hit reality show, “Honky Tonk Ranch,” on The Cowboy Channel. They’ve been on the scene since their 1976 No. 1 smash “Let Your Love Flow,” but this is apparently no time to slow down or join the retirement communities in their native Florida, where they still live on the family ranch. As long as fans keep clamoring for more, the brothers are happy to oblige.
“That is a platter of activity,” agrees older brother Howard, now 73. “But we just feel like we are so fortunate to be doing this. We always look at it as a gift.” Directly to that point, younger brother David, 68, once noted on the duo’s website, “I don’t know what retirement means.”
The brothers continue to be active writers, penning original material for their “Over the Moon” album, released in February.
In typical Bellamys fashion, the styles on the record cover a broad range of the musical gamut. “If You Ever Leave,” the lead single from the album, rides with a jangly Byrds/Tom Petty-ish folk rock feel. The title cut is a pure cowboy tune, while humorous fare like “Redneck Rockstar” and “My Body Fell Apart” might remind fans of Bellamy favorites like “Old Hippie.”
It’s easily apparent that Howard and David haven’t lost that inspirational spark. “Writing and recording for us is just part of living,” says David. “We like to do original songs. That’s really what it’s all about. We have a studio out in my yard and our guitar player lives at the ranch. When we get an idea for a song, we just go in there and put it down. I can lay down a track and I’ll call Howard and say, ‘Hey go by the studio and see what you think.’ Then, Howard might sing a little harmony with it. That’s pretty much the way we go about it.”
Touring is also part of the Bellamys makeup. They’re a huge draw literally all over the globe, with stops this year in Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden, so overseas travel is practically a given. What was not expected, though, was the call from Blake Shelton to join him on his Friends & Heroes tour, along with John Anderson, Trace Adkins and Lauren Alaina.
“That call from Blake was really out of the blue,” notes David with a grin. “We hadn’t heard from him in a while. We do keep in touch a lot and we have known him a long time.” David adds that Shelton had been brainstorming such a tour for a while. “He actually mentioned touring together a couple years back,” says David. “And then one day last year he called us.”
Fans and media alike have commended Shelton for including legendary acts like the Bellamys and Anderson on a tour that would likely play to a younger demographic. “It was kind of like he put his money where his mouth was,” smiles Howard. “There are people who talk about it but they don’t actually do it. Well, that’s the way Blake is. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from.” With a laugh, Howard adds, “He’s really just the same Blake that we met when he had the mullet.”
“I think this tour is really good for a mass audience,” David says, picking up the thread.. “He’s getting the generations together and showing fans who his influences are.” In effect, Shelton is introducing the younger generations to the Bellamys timeless music. During their set, the brothers treat the crowds to such classic hits as “Let Your Love Flow” and “Redneck Girl,” to loud waves of hoots and hollers. The Friends & the Heroes 2019 tour wraps March 23rd in Albany, New York.
In between road gigs, writing and recording, Howard and David fill the spaces with their popular reality TV show, “Honky Tonk Ranch,” airing on The Cowboy Channel. The series follows the brothers on their working ranch in Darby, Florida, populated by horses, cattle, three generations of the Bellamy family and other assorted characters. There’s a certain fascination to the show, as fans get an up-close view of what life is really like behind the scenes of the Bellamy clan. Their personal dramas might not rival those of the Kardashians, but you never know what might happen on any given day.
“We do have a pretty unique situation, as far as where we live,” David says. “There are things that happen all the time. We had an episode where Howard had to call our cousin to get a gator out of one of the ponds. That’s just a normal thing where we are,” he adds with a laugh. “So, it’s not a stretch for us to do this.”
Howard notes, “The TV show was kind of an experiment at first. But the first season was streamed into 66 countries and that made the network perk up. Opening up your life to the cameras can have some negatives to it, but I think we have really gotten in stride with the show.” Obviously, fans would agree, as “Honky Tonk Ranch” ranks as the most-viewed show on the network.
As long as the spirit is willing, and their bodies cooperate, the Bellamys will gladly savor their full plate schedule. “Our health is good,” David states. “And we pace ourselves better than we did in our younger days.” Letting go a laugh, David adds, “We always say we spent the first half of our career trying to kill ourselves – and the second half trying to stay alive.”