Artist: Luke Bell
Album: Luke Bell
Label: Bill Hill Records
Genre: Neo-traditionalist, Contemporary Country
If you’ve been longing to have some traditional country music back in your life, then I’ve definitely got an album for you this week! It’s Luke Bell’s self-titled 2016 release, and it’s incredible! Born and raised in Cody, Wyoming, this former ranch hand has certainly been making a name for himself with his Bakersfield Sound, opening for legends like Willie Nelson, Hank WIlliams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam. There’s no mistaking why once you give the first track a listen, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Luke had been playing on the jukebox in the back of the bar since the 60s and 70s.
Overall, Luke Bell brings a few legends to mind. Merle Haggard being the most prevalent, especially on tracks “Where Ya Been?,” “Hold Me,” and “The Bullfighter.” You’ll be able to understand my comparison to Roger Miller both vocally and lyrically upon listening to “Glory and the Grace,” which is my personal favourite off the album if I absolutely had to choose. And, believe me, it wasn’t an easy choice. “Ragtime Troubles” also brings Mr. Miller to mind. Not necessarily in vocal similarity, but in the production and delivery.
It’s not often that I’ll come across an album where I genuinely enjoy every single song. This, however, is one of the albums where I do. Usually, there’s one or two I don’t mind skipping over, but where Luke slows down in tempo, he picks it right back up with his lyrics. His songwriting is beautiful; just give “Loretta,” “The Bullfighter,” and “The Great Pretender” a listen and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Luke’s become my absolute favourite find so far because he’s just so unmistakably and traditionally country. This album so seamlessly found it’s way into my regular rotation that I don’t even remember not hearing at least one or two songs from it every single day.
If you’re a fan of Merle Haggard or Buck Owens, and you love that Bakersfield sound, Luke Bell should be next up on your music queue.
Favourites off the album: Sometimes, Hold Me, Loretta, Glory and the Grace, The Bullfighter, The Great Pretender… all of them, just all of them.