Tears and booze flow in equal amounts on Luke Bell’s self-titled album. The country singer’s songs are quality country from a living cowboy. Bell has traveled the American heartland playing music and ranching. This authenticity can be felt in every verse, chord and chorus as Bell delivers track after track about lost lovers, hard work and kicking back.
At its core, the album is a collection of stories. Characters may or may never have existed; events might never have happened; yet the descriptions Bell gives are so vivid and tangible that they feel real. One track, ‘Loretta,’ feels instantly relatable to anyone who has ever had a bright flaming love slowly burn out. ‘Sometimes’ is at home with anyone getting over happy memories now turned sour.
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Musically, the tracks hold few real surprises. The songs are solid and toss in harmonicas, organs, and violins but it is all standard country in its straightforward glory. The one exception is ‘Ragtime Troubles,’ which nearly sounds like Elvis, with just a tinge more country.
Having recently provided music for Netflix’s The Ranch, Bell is quickly rising in a genre that is often overlooked by many, but is a significant part of the music industry. Luke Bell is a solid album that confidently avoids the tropes of the genre while sticking to its roots. It does what country does best without ever feeling cheesy, preachy or backwards. It is a country album that even non-country listeners could find enjoyable.