He's an accomplished painter, a member of the world's greatest band (the Mekons), and he's got a cool name (even if it is made up). What more could an accordion player ask for? To be a frontman, of course. While Bell's initial forays into singing were decidedly odd (dogs and small children are guaranteed to hide under beds if they hear Bell wailing "Sweet Dreams" from the Mekons' The Edge of the World LP), his two solo releases on Bloodshot Records showcase a performer who's coming into his own. Bell and his buddies have been digging around in American roots music for long enough now that when he plays Honky-Tonk it sounds naturally written, rather than found. He doesn't limit himself to country, but there's a twang-like quality to his voice, and a directness of tone that comes straight from Williams, Cash and Jones. You wouldn't think a guy with an accordion could sound stately and wise, but he manages it.