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Elephants band to perform at Norwalk reservoir

Cary Ashby • Aug 5, 2019 at 9:19 AM

Vermilion is bringing its talents to the Norwalk reservoir to close out the 2019 free summer concert series.

The Elephants will take the stage at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Veterans Memorial Lake Park shelter nearest Executive Drive. The band consists of: Jon Bellis (singer and mandolin), Sam Daly (guitar and banjo), Gilbert Diaz (guitar and banjo) and bassist Travis Paluch.

“We are all mostly from Vermilion,” said Bellis, who wrote the album “Liminal” with Daly. 

The pair were mutual friends with Diaz and Paluch and The Elephants was created.

“Liminal” was recorded at the former Far Around Recording (formerly The Dirt Sandwich) in Norwalk.

“We went in one day and recorded all the instruments,” Bellis said. “Sam and I taught the songs to Gilbert and Travis and they put their flavorings on it.”

After recording the instrumental tracks, Bellis recorded the lead vocals. A second day was dedicated to the background vocals.

This year, The Elephants haven’t been doing as many gigs as they usually do. Instead, the quartet has been focusing on its second album, which they are recording themselves.

While the instrumentation has been recorded, Bellis still has to work on the lyrics. 

“I like concept albums. I like to hear what’s going on with the sound before I wrote anything,” he said.

Often, the band’s songs are inspired by a productive jam session. Bellis said discovering the right “riff” is really helpful in that organic songwriting process, noting that only sometimes does a band member write something on his own.

Audience members at the reservoir Wednesday should expect to hear an even mix of original songs and covers. Bellis said when The Elephants perform someone else’s music, it’s often from the 1960s and ’70s psychedelic rock era, such as the Doors and Zombies.

Personally, Bellis said he is inspired by the music of Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys and enjoys harmony of The Mamas and the Papas and Simon & Garfunkel. The Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds” particularly has resonated with him.

“Even before I had the album, I loved that album,” Bellis said.

The Elephants had been scheduled to perform during the Norwalk free summer concert series at one point, but their show got rained out. Regardless, the band is excited to play at the reservoir.

“I think it’s awesome,” Bellis said. “It means a lot to us to be invited.”

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