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Johnny Bell – “Johnny Bell and The Visitors” Review

Music of the plains
Johnny Bell
Johnny Bell

Johnny Bell’s mix of old and new folk from America’s Southwest is an intoxicating intricate drone. His two-track single released last month is a banjo and trumpet heavy collection. Both tracks feel like you’re on the wagon on a journey. “A Visitors Anthem” is just that – an anthem. It builds in percussive urgency and has a never-ending wheel of time feel to it that you can really get behind. “The Die Four” is a more muted affair with mallet drums, a less euphoric tone, but one that feels more like a discovery piece. What’s interesting is that the tracks come from a song structure that then had improvisation placed over the top. You would never know as there’s a natural ebb and flow to both tracks.

For fans of the banjo, settler music and traditional folk – this is a little gem. It reminds me a lot of Western Skies Motel’s “Settlers” from 2016 in style and tone – and is well worth investigating.

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