Luke Bell, Al Scorch, Lawrence Peters Outfit | Empty Bottle | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Luke Bell, Al Scorch, Lawrence Peters Outfit Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sun., Nov. 27, 9 p.m. 2016

Wyoming native Luke Bell turns to classic tear-in-my-beer heartache on “Sometimes,” an old-school honky-tonk original that opens his recent self-titled debut album for Thirty Tigers. Looking back on a love he walked out on, Bell vacillates between indifference and sadness, the former emotion something he shoots for, the latter the one he succumbs to, singing, “There’s a sweet memory at the bottom of my glass / I feel it fall to my belly and rise to my heart.” Throughout the album Bell comes off as an old soul, a reality reflected by his days as a rancher and the time he spent gigging in Austin and New Orleans before settling in Nashville. His crooning style harks back to a much different kind of country singer, summoning the sound of folks like Lefty Frizzell and Hank Thompson, especially when the pedal-steel-soaked sound of a song like “Hold Me” swings so naturally. At times he reminds me of the great Paul Burch in the way he reaches toward country’s past—and maybe as he grows in skill over the years to come he’ll find his way to the present. Yet between the flashes of wide-eyed wonder at the world on “Glory and the Grace” and the Elvis Presley vibe of “The Great Pretender” (which has nothing to do with the Platters classic except the shared chronicle of trafficking deceit), his charm is enough for now.

Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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