It all began when Dr. John Fell (a general practitioner by day and wildly expressive singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist by night) found himself in a new town—freshly divorced. That period of time saw DocFell writing songs as aggressively as he ever had. Soon after, the decision to record his first album (2014’s Scissor Tail) resulted in the serendipitous meeting between he and Kyle Brown (artist/musician, electric & acoustic guitarist and mandolin master), and the core of the band was formed.
The completion of their latest album, Dust Bowl Heart, saw the additions of John Barker (electric bass guitar), Kevin Rose and Joe Sloan (percussion). One need not go too deep into this new project in order to hear and feel the influences of the great Johnny Cash, Woody Guthrie, and others.
Here’s what we dug most…
Our Favorite Track:
Lonesomeville, Damn. This is some creative new country. The first :54 opens with a wildly unexpected combination of ambient and lo-fi vocals, strings, and a few plucked notes. Then the beat drops and takes everything in an entirely different direction. That contrast is straight delicious!
“She’s a paint horse, with a white mane
She’s got oil, runnin’ through her veins
A trail of tears, a meadowlark
Shes’ the moon-lit panhandle in the dark
She stole my heart, makes it go crazy
My Oklahoma Lady”
Strong writing and production make Dandelions, perhaps, the most radio-worthy song on the album. DocFell wales with that oh-so-familiar combination of honest observation, and helpless regret…
“We’re at the whims and mercy, of our fickle fate
Won’t do no good to worry, or over contemplate
might as well go crazy, before we go insane
realize we’re dandelions dancing in a hurricane”
The album’s title track, Dust Bowl Heart, offers the kind of remedy for a broken heart that only bluegrass can provide. However, take a moment to do more than bob your head or tap your feet. Take a listen to the picking skills going on. It’s fantastic.
Dancing the line between Swing and Soul-infused Americana, This Machine puts a noteworthy stamp on DocFell’s sophomore effort. Specifically, I’m diggin’ the background vocal harmonies, and of course once again, that six-string pickin’.
In the end analysis, Dust Bowl Heart certainly offers the clever lyricism and tangible, coherent subject matter that make it quite easy to enjoy over and over again. However, there’s more here. Their’s is the kind of fluid skill and musicianship that is easy to overlook. Or perhaps more accurately stated, it’s easy to take for granted, it’s easy to miss because it’s so smooth, so flawless. DocFell & Co. make it seem so easy. Thus, these songs—for all of their raw, simple character and likability—are also rich and complex with the work of some very talented and disciplined musical craftsman. What it boils down to: This is an album for fans and musicians alike.
Gary Allan meets Jimmy Buffett…
BELOW, you can listen to DocFell & Co.’s album, Dust Bowl Heart, and connect with their website and social media platforms. Please support DocFell & Co. by visiting them online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing their music. And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!