Personnel: Luke Bell (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Steve Daly (guitar, steel guitar); Brett Resnick (steel guitar); Casey Driscoll (fiddle); Micah Hulscher (accordion, piano, organ); Jimmy Lester (drums); Jem Cohen, Caitlin Rose (background vocals).
Recording information: The Bomb Shelter, Nashville, TN.
Photographer: Laura Partain.
Country throwback Luke Bell has a couple of independent records kicking around, but this excellent self-titled release will likely serve as his introduction to most. The Wyoming native crisscrossed the country a handful of times before settling in Nashville, where his old-school honky tonk charm won him a deal with the Thirty Tigers agency. Made up of cuts from his second LP, 2014's Don't Mind If I Do, and a handful of newly recorded songs, the album presents Bell as a classic country drifter with the spirit of Buck Owens and the wit of Roger Miller. While his vintage approach may recall some of country music's golden eras, Bell rises above other young, retro-inspired acts on the strength of his memorable songwriting. Highlights like the marvelous "Where Ya Been?" and the wily "Glory and the Grace" prove that Bell is a high-caliber tunesmith first, though his charismatic delivery seals the deal. ~ Timothy Monger