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Vince Bell's "Live In Texas" was recorded at a
Texas Nights North house concert in Dallas in May of 2001. It is a
special and unique recording and is being marketed in a new and unique way
- through a select number of internet sites like MyTexasMusic.com, by
download, and at Vince's performances.
Vince Bell's story has been well-documented in countless articles and in
Vince's wonderful and chilling autobiography, "One Man's
Music". Since Vince tells the story better than anyone else
can, let me just say, for anyone who doesn't know, nineteen years ago, his
car was broadsided by a drunk driver at a high speed which put Vince in a
coma and sent him down a long, dark road of recovery that I'm sure
continues to this day. Twelve years after the original planned
release of his first album, Vince released the phenomenal
"Phoenix", and in 1999, the equally wonderful "Texas
Plates". So, a comeback and a continuation, and both were
filled with excruciating hard work, wisdom, humor, and a truly exceptional
collection of finely crafted songs...Having caught you up to the
Vince Bell's voice reminds me of the sound made when a high quality
chamois is torn very slowly...Once it works it's way into your deepest
inner circle, down below all those levels that daily life and society
build up in us, you find yourself wanting to hear it all the time.
Vince is a truly gifted songwriter, out of the same bloodlines as his late
friend, Townes Van Zandt, but with his own unique styles, both of
songwriting and of delivering that artwork to an audience..
"Say That You Will" is a haunting masterpiece...Cam King grabs
you right here, right now on the first song, with his gorgeous, masterful
electric guitar work floating over Vince's rhythmic acoustic bed...Such a
simple song to evoke such complex feelings in me...Vince's vocal hook is
thrilling, enticing, each line followed by Cam's response on
guitar..."They swear in the light, the say you're a thrill...Go on
and hide if you like, I always loved it when you did...But when you step
back in the light, let the masquerade continue..." Again,
haunting, enticing, thrilling; drawing you into it's core until you're a
part of it with them.
"Let You Leave" reminds me how much I love the unique way Vince
articulates his vocal phrasing - A great line, "I know I'm in your
heart, that's not nearly close enough..."
A "Folk Song" for our confusing, modern age.."This country
is a cartoon of degrading violence..." Glimpses black and white
documentary shots of our times...
A powerful rock ballad, "The Other Side" works the acoustic and
electric guitars together perfectly..."The lucky ones they'll never
know how they got here...The worst of us will never know where here
is..." At a couple of points Vince pushes his voice into the
redline areas of the dial, but it holds on and delivers the message
intact...Then he drops down to a hoarse, powerful whisper cajoling his
partner to say I love you back to him..."Come on, and say it...Come
on, say it...(a third time with a little laugh) I love you, come on, say
it..." Riveting, dramatic, even dangerous territory here...and
again, quite powerful.
"Queen Street" and "Game of Chances" are paintings,
and we see them, with the artist, on the easel as they develop...We also
see and are reminded of what a powerful instrument a Pawless acoustic
guitar is in Vince's hands. He has relearned the guitar as an adult
an because of that he has a different sound and style than anybody else
and it is always a wonderful thing to hear when he stretches out for
Cam is back for "Sundown In Her Eyes", surely a wonderful title
all by itself. Not a painting this time, but a movie, semi-fleshed
out and vibrant. A Tex-mex border tale with a love at first sight
romance. Every time Vince says "Sundown in her eyes", Cam
and he play an exciting little two-bar filigree that you wish you could
hear more of...
It's not a pretty story we come upon in "Local Charm", a vision
of blasted lands and ruined waters, like so many places in our country
that have been decimated by corporate techno-greed, laying waste to the
air, water, ground and people that are unfortunate enough to have to call
the area home.
"Slowly" is a rollicking pop tune that has Vince beating out an
infectious rhythm on the Pawless and singing a delightful
melody...refreshing and exciting and sure to be a hit single in a
different time than now, where American radio is just so sad and confused
and split into so many meaningless divisions of genres and cliches.
An absolutely wonderful song.
Coming into the home stretch, Vince summons up a couple of songs by two of
our finest songwriters - Bruce Cockburn's "Tokyo" and David
Rodriquez's "Two Lane Blacktop" end the show on a spirited plane
with Cam King back and supplying wonderful, ringing, jingling fills and
leads played to perfection.
Some of Vince's songs have been recorded by other, more well-known
artists, most notably, I guess, would be Lyle Lovett's recording of
"I've Had Enough" on his "Step Inside This House"
album. BUT, it is long past the time when this artist assumes the
mantle of that Next Step. That step where critics, and the radio,
and the record companies, and The Public, especially, get to hear him on a
regular basis. Because, my friends, that is all it will take for all
of them to hear that he deserves to be in a position among the top circle
of Artist/Musicians in the land. Vince Bell has worked hard to be
where he is right now - harder than most people could even imagine.
Worked hard to live and write and sing and play that guitar just like he
was ringin a bell. But, in my opinion, he deserves more; he deserves to be
heard on a wider basis and to be acknowledged and recognized as the
important, major talent that he has become. Vince Bell's "Live
In Texas" is, at the same time, a culmination and a jumping off point
- a culmination of years of dedication and solid, workmanlike honing of
his crafts, and a jumping off point to the bigger and better things that
he deserves, like a major record company's interest and a wider
audience. I know that I am rooting for him and behind him all the
way, and that once you hear this album, you will feel the same way.
And you know what else, folks? I sure wouldn't bet against Vince
Bell accomplishing anything he sets his mind to. No sir, I would
certainly not bet against him. Thanks for stopping by, campers, and
I will see you further on down the trail. - Rev Buckman
(This review first appeared at lonestarwebstation.com and was
submitted by a fan.)
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