Luke Bell Joins Martha Spencer Singing Guy Clark

Luke Bell and Martha Spencer

Normally the publishing of a video for a cover song may not be cause to stop down and request your undivided attention. But anything that involves the always elusive Luke Bell these days is worth stopping down for, and he proves why when he teams up with the equally impressive Martha Spencer to perform the song “Dublin Blues” in tribute to Guy Clark who would have celebrated his 80th birthday this month.

Martha Spencer is a singer, songwriter, and flatfoot/clog dancer directly from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and the Spencer Family of performers. Along with her solo material that you can hear in her 2018 self-titled album, she’s also performed in numerous other projects, mostly in the mountain music and traditional country forms. But on one rainy afternoon earlier this year, she decided to to record this Guy Clark classic from 1995 that if nothing else, put the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin on the map.

“I’ve always loved this song since I heard it years ago for the first time,” Martha Spencer says. “And it was so nice to get to sing as a duet with a good friend and one of my favorite singers, Luke Bell. Recorded in August 2021 in Galax, VA by Bee Hive Pro. We were recording some other videos that day for upcoming songs I’d recorded, but this song had been stuck in my head all week, so we decided to try this one too while the rain was coming down.”

Luke Bell might be the perfect accomplice for this homesick song, with a Hogslop String Band hat and a voice that carries the weight of 1,000 burdens. The chemistry between these two is easy. The joy of Spencer and the “at peace” ease with which Luke sings puts you right in the room.

Luke Bell is considered by many to be one of the most authentic voices to emerge in country music in the last decade, and one of the most elusive performers over the past few years. He released a debut album on Bandcamp in 2014, then re-released it via Thirty Tigers in 2016, opening shows for names like Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam, and making many wonder if he would be the next big name to emerge in independent country.

But Luke Bell didn’t seem suited for music as a business, and just sort of slipped into the countryside, emerging every once in a while, and leaving a trail of tales. Saving Country Music published a deep dive into Luke Bell and his elusiveness in April of 2020. Wherever he’s been, it’s good to see him here with Martha Spencer, singing a song that feels perfect for a slow fall day.

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