A return of more authentic country music made a comeback in 2015 with the likes of Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson. Luke Bell too is the real deal and is poised to keep that train rolling with his debut self-titled record out today.
Let’s get right to it, Luke Bell’s record would be on heavy rotation on the jukebox at Bob’s Country Bunker. Not for checking music genre boxes of both kinds, “country and western” (After all, Bell is from Wyoming and now lives in Nashville) but simply, this record just so damn good.
Instead of Jake and Elwood being chased outta town, we here at NewsWhistle feel The Good Ole Boys could be the ones being chased away by Luke Bell.
What makes us love this record is that his songs are thoughtful personal tales. Completely genuine and void of pretense.
Bell’s style is no doubt a hat tip to the greats and you’ll hear a bit of George Jones, Merle Haggard and other legends. But make no mistake, he is no carbon copy and his own voice.
Bell’s a story teller and is as good as any. Tracks ‘Sometimes‘ with lines “We drank like fish / and we loved like hogs…” and the chorus on ‘Loretta‘, “Oh Loretta, I can’t see it getting better…” are clearly true tales with a cheeky quality peeking through a dark cloud of heartache.
He somehow finds a way to make break up songs a tad cheerful. If you don’t believe it, the video for ‘Sometimes‘ has this tongue in cheek vibe.
Never afraid to expose some raw emotions, lines like, “…Where’s my friend / I went out on the town and I ain’t seen him since…” on ‘Where Ya Been’ doesn’t ask you to join the pity party but leaves you with a uncertain sadness and a shot glass of empathy.
Other lines like, “Hold me closer / I think I might just cry…” on ‘Hold Me’ paints the picture of leaning on the shoulder of some gal while watching the ex dance with another fella and that begging to make her jealous is probably futile.
Don’t let all the “in touch with our feelings” sensitivity confuse you though, this cowboy is a man’s man.
On the Dylan-esque ‘Bullfighter’, “I’m here to play for blood boys / and I’ll be here til the end…” reminds us this songwriter is no softy, and although I’m a nice guy, just watch out if you mess with me.
After a few listens, his songs will stick with you, you’ll hear them in your head over and over, and perhaps this ain’t a bad thing. Maybe it’s because you can identify with the stories, find a lyrical connection and put your self in his boots. Or maybe it’s just a damn good first record.
As Luke states on his own website as one of his likes, “…just plain good songs”.
Far from plain, these first 10 recordings from Luke Bell are fantastic.
Order Luke Bell’s self-titled record directly here: Luke Bell — The Official Site. And also check for current and fall tours dates!
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Luke Bell Music