Luke Bell has reason to pride himself on authenticity. His songs sound like they could have been birthed in Bakersfield, or for that matter, the expanse of the West Texas plains. Unblemished by pretense or the need to adapt to current trends, Bell offers a sound that would likely elicit a nod from Hank Williams, Roger Miller, Bob Wills or any other old master as well. Honky tonk and humility pervade his eponymous effort along with ample amounts of competence and credence. Like his current contemporaries Dwight Yoakam, Webb Wilder and the Mavericks, he shows a genuine reverence for his roots, without having to fall back on imitation, novelty or any hint of a false facade. Songs such as “Sometimes,” “The Great Pretender,” “Hold Me” and “All Blue” may take a traditional tack, but Bell carries himself with the confidence and assurance of an artist who plots his own course and makes no apology for tapping into a sound so faithful and familiar. Whether it’s the barrelhouse piano that punctuates “Loretta,” the down home shuffle of “Glory and the Grace” or the double time tempo and piercing yodel that underscores “Working Man’s Dream,” it’s apparent Bell has mastered this classic motif, allowing him to stand in the shadows of the aforementioned masters. Here then is an album that reminds us that this kind of classic music still matters... and that in the future it always should.