Johnsburg country singer Lara Bell knew early on that she was going to be a performer. She wasn’t sure if it would be for acting, dance or music — she’s well trained in all three — but she was confident Disney Channel was showing her true path.
Also, she was about 5 years old.
“I’ve always been a very theatrical and expressive person,” she said. “I wanted to be on Disney Channel. When I was a kid, back then, I would ask for an agent because I wanted to be Hannah Montana, literally.”
The piano and dance lessons and musical theater lessons that followed have paid off for Bell, now 25, as this weekend she is releasing a new single with her band, playing radio and hitting two different scenes for two very different performances.
Friday’s release, “Couple More Rounds,” taps into the country-heartbreak genre, but with Bell’s bubbly, bubbly vocals, it’s an upbeat, playful reminder that no matter how hard the party gets, the feelings will always be there. the. She said he was inspired by wine and zoom parties with friends at the start of the pandemic.
“All I thought was, ‘Man, I miss that person.’ This drink makes me want to see them and talk to them even though I haven’t talked to or seen them in so long,” she explained. “That was the inspiration to write a song about how sometimes alcohol can make you really happy and have a good night and forget about everything. But for me, if I miss someone or I had the heartbroken or if I’m just a little sad, I miss them even more and that makes it worse in a way.”
Johnsburg triple threat Lara Bell loves other genres of music, but she says she’s “a country girl at heart.”
– Courtesy of Cardenas Captures
The Lara Bell Band – McHenry’s Craig Schwartz Jr. on bass and vocals, Sean McKenzie on guitar and Anthony Quirck on drums – has been busy this summer, playing a mix of rock and pop-country covers (as well as some his original music) across northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, playing halls, county fairs, and even singing a song at the Country Thunder music festival with a friend’s band.
But growing up on horseback and with her mother’s roots on a farm, Bell said she was “a country girl at heart, that’s for sure”.
“I grew up with all that ’70s music,” she said, referring to her parents’ affinity for stripped-back acoustic tunes from artists like John Denver and Cat Stevens. “So that’s what I think of when I think of home, you know, that kind of music and lifestyle.”
Bell emulates this in his original music, particularly the narrative aspect of the songs. And she looks forward to putting more of her work out there soon.
“I liked that they weren’t cliché, but they’re often about breaking your heart. And as you grow up, you can relate to a lot of them, at least I think more than some pop songs,” she says. “When you can hear someone’s grief in their voice, it’s so cool that you can be that vulnerable, and share it and other people can relate to it.”
• Bell’s release weekend kicks off early Friday, August 19 with a 7 a.m. appearance on the STAR 105.5‘s “Sunrise Acoustic” showcase, where she will perform live before “Couple More Rounds” hits the airwaves at 8:10 a.m., followed by two live performances this weekend.
• • •
Lara Bell Acoustic Show with Craig Schwartz Jr.
When: 4:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, August 19
Where: McHenry VFW Room, 3002 IL-120, McHenry, vfwmchenry.org
Lauren Alaina with the Lara Bell Band
When: 5 p.m. Saturday, August 20
Where: Niko’s Red Mill Tavern, 1040 Lake Ave., Woodstock, redmilltavern.com