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Music Review: Glenna Bell – Perfectly Legal: Songs Of Sex, Love and Murder

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Glenna Bell is Texas born, bred, and educated. She grew-up in the small Texas towns of Lumberton and Pineland before receiving a master’s degree from Texas A&M University. A couple of stops in Venice, California as a theater critic and playwright and then a doctorate in creative writing from The University of Houston’s exclusive Writing Program formed the foundation for her career in music.

She is now firmly entrenched as a singer/songwriter who has just released her latest album Perfectly Legal: Songs Of Sex, Love and Murder. She possesses a classic country voice and her lyrics of anguish, loss, and the dark side of life is traditional country as well. It is her simple and stripped down arrangements that push her sound in a folk direction.

It is her theater and writing background that is important for this release. She explores the life and experiences of a woman living in the 21st century. She divides the album into four sections with each part having been recorded at different studios with different musicians which gives them their own personality.

The best songs of the first act is a barrelhouse cover of the old standard “Frankie and Johnny” which fits the title and themes of this album well and a simple version of the Sam Cooke classic “Lost and Lookin.” Act two features a tender duet on the Clint Eastwood movie theme song, “Honky Tonk Man.” The lyrics just make you ache as happiness is always just a note away. Act three presents her own “The Southern Gothic Wedding Waltz” and the title says a lot. She fills in the sound a bit with a second guitarist and some keyboards. The final track from act four is another of her compositions. “The Cougar Anthem” is an up-tempo and amusing beat driven tune that stands out as a nice counterpoint to the rest of her material.

Perfectly Legal: Songs Of Sex, Love and Murder is a gentle and thoughtful album built around eternal themes. Songs of the heart and mind explore the light and darkness of human life. A fine effort from deep in the heart of Texas.

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  • Maggie

    I think Glenna Bell is a fantastic songwriter, and an amazingly articulate woman in general with a voice all her own. I did an interview with her for Songfacts and was continually impressed with everything she had to say. I loved this album!