Nathan Bell’s music comes from a place of exhaustion. His mellow, world-weary folk music chronicles the endless grind of all shades of the working person in America, from mine workers to middle managers. Bell writes from personal experience: his musical career bookends a 15-year hiatus in the ‘90s and ‘00s, during which he worked as both a manual laborer and a phone company manager. He’s been involved in both blue-collar and white-collar life, and understands that both lifestyles are uniquely draining. His new album I Don’t Do This For Love, I Do This For Love examines the different stripes of dead-end Americana over guitar and mandolin.
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The Steeldrivers - “Can You Run” - Reckless (Rounder, 2010)
As far as I’m concerned, Nashville’s Steeldrivers are the finest neo-bluegrass group on the planet right now. Blending the literary songwriting of Mike Henderson (who sadly left the band at the end of last year) with the masterful musicianship of bluegrass/country veterans, fiddler Tammy Rogers, bassist Mike Fleming, and banjoist Richard Baileyand, as well as the soulful vocals of Chris Stapleton (now replaced by Gary Nichols), the Steeldrivers create virtuostic songs focused on Southern life past and present.