“Guitars that buzz and hiss like a bad heater, lonesome harmonicas that bleat, dobros that spill blood and pain and tears everywhere bring the emotions, the forsaken places to life without words. It’s a haunting album, but even more it’s a haunted record. These characters – all men save for the lone female who comes to realize her records are more faithful than the men she’s given her heart to in “She Only Loves Blue” – are living lives caught in the cracks, lost in the margins, trapped in the gaps between have and have not. Bell laughs at the suggestion that his anti-heroes aren’t even anti-heroes. He sees the beyond oxymoronic reality of it. He doesn’t care; he knows he’s right. “There are a lot of guys pretending to be cowboys, troubadours, vagrants, outsiders,” he concedes. “But there’s not a lot of middle aged working guys pretending to be outlaws. We’re too busy working. All we can do is tell the truth…” And the truth to Bell is non-negot”
"Black Crow Blue plays like Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska but with more continuity" Bell's Lyricism has the same hardness you'd imagine from a Clint Eastwood or Paul Newman character, or from writer Jim Harrison. It's unblinking, strong and true"
“He has been writing with a vengeance since he started back making music in 2007. Blood Like a River is about his life now, Black Crow Blue is his trickster's tale of a remembered life. - Jessie Scott”
“Bell lives in a world of less thans, left behinds, lost souls and not enoughs and isn’t afraid to rail against the scraps that are supposed to suffice. Get ready to be inspired. ”
“When he has a political point to make, he doesn't hedge (listen to "Six Long Years" and "Traitorland"). He may well be the best kept secret on the American indy rock scene. ”
“As before, Bell is indeed in tune, fully alive and capable of illuminating what good songwriters can help us see and feel. He may no longer be living on Nashville time—this appearance is his first time back onstage in Nashville in a decade—but his world has always had a wider view than that.”