Luke Bell's backstory could've come out of the pages of a novel by Jim Harrison, Thomas McGuane or Cormac McCarthy. A fifth-generation descendant of Wyoming homesteaders, the ranch hand turned troubadour has seen a lot of life in his 26 years on this mortal coil, and his self-titled album, serves as a rollicking document of his experiences. The record is teeming with colorful characters, captured in hardscrabble yarns of living hard and drinking harder, making bad choices and laughing them off. There's a little bit of their author in each of these flawed but redeemable characters - and at a time when authenticity is in short supply, Luke Bell has come along to remind us what it feels like to be truly alive and open to the possibilities of existence in a captivating song cycle that puts the cowboy back into Country & Western.
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