Nathan Bell’s music comes from a place of exhaustion. His mellow, world-weary folk music chronicles the endless grind of all shades of the working person in America, from mine workers to middle managers. Bell writes from personal experience: his musical career bookends a 15-year hiatus in the ‘90s and ‘00s, during which he worked as both a manual laborer and a phone company manager. He’s been involved in both blue-collar and white-collar life, and understands that both lifestyles are uniquely draining. His new album I Don’t Do This For Love, I Do This For Love examines the different stripes of dead-end Americana over guitar and mandolin.
“It’s fairly easy to come up with a concept built around working men in the traditional sense—miners and factory workers,” says Bell. “But there’s also these white-collar guys who thought there was a rainbow at the end of this thing—that if you worked hard and took care of your family, it paid off. So you gave up things, you made certain sacrifices. But when you really look at it, where’s the payoff? A lot of it is gone.” He continues: “I’ve worked hard all my life, and rarely in rarefied air. And if I’ve learned anything it is that the individual human being is a brave and kind son of a bitch, and the choices forced upon us to live with other people are often the deepest and bravest expressions of love. I think it’s important to give people credit for loving completely even when what they’re doing isn’t something they love.”
I Don’t Do This For Love, I Do This For Love was released on May 20th. Stream the video for the album’s title track below.