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Glenna Bell - The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

Glenna Bell

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mike Jurkovic

The road less traveled, indeed.

I say that simply because any number of singer/songwriters sound like some guitar wielding predecessor. Glenna Bell goes beyond a list of influences. She doesn't sound like the usual suspects—Lucinda, Gillian, Iris, Mary Gauthier, etc. She sounds older than that. Way older. Like Texas is old.

The Road Less Traveled plays like an old field recording. You're listening to songs like the gritty prison ballad Outside The Bars and the mournful, yet redemptive Johnny Bush duet The East Side expecting to hear the pops and skips of old vinyl.

With her arrangements raw, production back-porch sparse, and a haunting, halting vocal style, Bell fixes your attention on her songs and not the tired who-does-she-sound-like guessing game that gets in the way of a good listen far too often. It takes a strong will to sing about trying to win a father's love and respect without sounding maudlin and weepy, but The Texas Aggies Win Again accomplishes just that. Another bold move is covering the Carter-Cash standard Jackson a song recorded too many times by all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. And lest you conclude that Glenna Bell is all backwoods hard time and misery, check out her kick-up-the-dust ode to married life How I Found Out I'm Insane.

Though mistrust for politicians is at an all time high in our broken land, the 2007 Texas House of Representatives honored Bell's music with a House Resolution, read in a ceremony at the Capitol in Austin. The House Speaker personally congratulated her for her musical contributions to the Lone Star State. She has opened for likes of Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez, Hayes Carll, Two Tons of Steel and other prominent Texas performers. People are listening. You should too.

Track List:

  • Outside The Bars
  • The East Side
  • I Can't Get My Mind Off You
  • The Texas Aggies Win Again
  • The Family Bible
  • Jackson
  • How I Found Out I'm Insane
  • La Casa Que Lo Amo
  • Shiner Bock & ZZ Top
  • The East Side
  • Be My Valentine (On Christmas)
Produced by John Evans

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2008, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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