Mercy Bell didn’t have anything else to do in quarantine, so she made a stone-cold ‘90s country album. Golden Child finds itself stitched with traces of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s pulsing lyrical heartbeat, the lonesome cry of Pam Tillis, and the spittin’ grit of Terri Clark. While these influences were, perhaps, unintended, the openly queer Filipino-American did find herself calling to the voices of Shania Twain, Gillian Welch, Alan Jackson, and Lucinda Williams.
In working with producer J.R. Bohannon ─ remotely, of course ─ Bell revisited a batch of country songs she’d co-written pre-pandemic and never had the intention of performing them herself. “I thought other artists would,” she says. “When I was going through a mental health crisis during the pandemic, J.R. reached out and helped me find the right kind of therapy and medication,” Bell recalls. “We bonded over cats, coffee, and mental health, and our mutual love of pop and ‘90s country.”
Their new-found kinship resulted in a seven-track record that reads as not only an homage to ‘90s but gives Bell a vehicle to explore. Bohannon recorded with his band in Brooklyn at Baby's All Right, while Bell laid down vocals at Nashville’s Bomb Shelter. Such a DIY spirit gives the recordings a certain irresistible charm.
Golden Child arrives as an extension of Mercy Bell, further showcasing the beauty of her songwriting and vocal prowess. By the end, seven songs demonstrate Mercy Bell really can do it all.
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