Nathan Bell is an acclaimed writer, guitarist and live solo performer who was an instrumental part of the creation of alt-country and Americana with the duo Bell and Shore. Nathan returned in 2011 from a 13 year musical hiatus with two albums about the American experience, Black Crow Blue, and now his latest, Blood Like a River (American Family).
His music is beautiful, and his voice is clear and strong both when he sings, as well as when he uses it to speak up for his beliefs. I wanted you to know him, so I asked him the My Monomania questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.
Who- Curt Flood, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and sued to be released from a draconian contract for services in 1969. The Curt Flood lawsuit (with the white power structure aligned almost lock step against a single black man) would eventually lead to Free Agency in professional sports. I was a San Francisco Giant’s fan but from the day of the lawsuit on, I wore Curt Flood signature baseball cleats, remarkable for how light they were, and recognizable by their red soles and unusual molded plastic cleats.
What- My American Family. Father, mother, boy, girl, and grandparents. Three rescue dogs. We (the humans) are a relatively new family to this country, a few generations removed from Ireland, Poland, England, and Ukraine. We are stubborn members of the working class.
Why- I was an accomplished and un-coachable athlete and a poor photographer. I didn’t have enough patience with myself to write short stories or novels, so I became a songwriter.
When- 1994, when I quit writing and playing and spent the next 13 years working and helping to raise my American Family. I never thought I’d return to music.
Where- Here, now. It’s the best lesson I took away from a brief foray into Zen Buddhism.
To listen to the album, or have others listen to the album, use the link below. Nothing can be downloaded but the songs play completely. A hard copy can be arranged.