Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Blood like a River

Magazine article Acoustic Guitar

Blood like a River

Article excerpt

Nathan Bell

Blood Like a River

Stone Barn

Country-folk documents life on the hardscrabble margin

"My hands are hard and my poetry plain," rasps Nathan Bell on "Fade Out," one of 12 thumbnail sketches, each pared down to the sharpness and subtlety of a haiku on Blood Like a River. Bell's rustic voice, which couples the grain of the Band's Levon Helm with the gruff troubadour's lilt of Kris Kristofferson, lays bare lives on the hardscrabble margin: The perpetual motion of a jittery everyman in "Him Out the Lights," young service men and women reduced to a handful of ruins in "Names," the ordinary heroism of choosing to love in "Really Hilly," and Bell's own encounter with a desperate gunman in the autobiographical "Trigger."

On this rock-tinged country-folk set, Bell's guitars (both steel and conventional) entwine in a Gordian knot of dual fretwork, with mandolin and tenor ukulele occasionally subbing for one of the guitars. …

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