The cozy Americana on Ben Bell’s new album, "Folk for Swingers," is lighthearted music — easygoing, cheerful and full of toe-tapping rhythms and melodies you’ll find stuck in your head days later.
On this new release, the Baton Rouge musician fuses classic country, folk and early jazz traditions to create tender songs, many of which speak to the love of intoxicating women, such as the tracks “Gin and Tonic,” “Like Drinking Wine, Wine, Wine” and the whimsical “Louisiana Ladies.”
“Louisiana Ladies,” especially, is a proper example of the good-natured humor of “Folk for Swingers.” Bell starts the song with a joke, characterizing his own work as frivolous and fun: “You got drummer jokes, bass jokes, but you know why there aren’t any singer-songwriter jokes?” Bell asks. “Because there’s too many of them.”
Bell’s songwriting talent is on full display here, although on the surface his singing is less impressive. Bell said he intentionally set out to make a raw, organic and unpolished record, and it shows on the endearingly imperfect “The Soul of Spring” as Bell extends to notes outside his vocal range.
The relaxed, no-pressure attitude on “Folk for Swingers” is what makes the album charming. Bell’s spirited songs and playful crooning are delightfully upbeat and, ultimately, hard to dislike.
Ben Bell will perform a release show for “Folk for Swingers” at 8 p.m. Friday, April 12, at Mid City Ballroom, 136 S. Acadian Thruway. Minos the Saint will also perform. $15 advance; $20 door. midcityballroom.com; benbellmusic.com.
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