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.