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Steve Bell celebrates 25 year music career

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Steve Bell is more than just a Christian singer.Steve Bell returns to Lethbridge this week. Photo Submitted
 The beloved Winnipeg singer songwriter, who comes to the First Baptist Church on Dec. 4,  has been performing for 25 years, so in honour of that is releasing “Pilgrimage”— a box set of a new CD, three bonus discs and a book. Though he hadn’t intended to have  such a massive celebration.
“ I was just going to release a new CD, ”  he observed  from his Winnipeg office.
 He has released 17 CDs since his 1989 debut “Comfort My People”, sold 300,000 copies and has won numerous awards including two Junos.

Unbeknownst to him, his friends in the musical community  including  Jon Buller, Diana Pops & Adrian Bradford, The Bros. Landreth, Mike Janzen, Carolyn Arends, Glen Soderholm, Bob Bennett, Ego Spank, Gayle Salmond, Jacob Moon, David Jennings, Don Amero and Malcolm Guite decided to record their own versions of Bell’s songs and put them on a CD  as a present  to him, while long time manager Dave Zeglinski decided to add a disc of remixed instrumental versions of Bells songs which he had been using as pre-show music.

 They decided to get the fans involved as well, asking them to choose their favourite Steve Bell songs, which he re-recorded as stripped down acoustic numbers.
“It’s nice to get them involved. The fans have a huge investment into my career,” he said.

 To add the icing to the cake, long time friend and fan, UBC theology professor John Stackhouse Jr. decided to write a keepsake book including a biographical essay and discography.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to everybody who has supported me,” he said.

 He was pleasantly surprised with what the other musicians came up with   covering his songs.
“It’s pretty impressive. There’s a version of ‘Never Mind’ (by Diana Pops and Adrian Bradford) which sounds like a cross between Radiohead. It’s really beautiful, he said adding he had never imagined the song done as an ambient rock song.
 He noted his music changes based on the people he gets to play on  each CD.
“ I don’t really  change my music,  but it does change depending in the musicians I get to play,” he said.

Murray Pulver of the Crash Test Dummies and Doc Walker produced Steve Bell’s past two CDs.


“He’s brilliant and he’s a skilled musician,” he enthused adding he also knows a lot of talented musicians, who he gets to play on Bell’s CDs.
“He has a great ear for music,” he said.

 Bell noted the new CD explores the theme of Lent, though  he hadn’t intended to write a themed CD.
“ I found I was writing a lot of lyrics about Lent,” he said adding it isn’t all original material.
 He also ended covering an instrumental from fellow Winnipegger Roger Schmidt “ Borrowed Shoes.”
“He’s a great fingerpicker,” he said adding he also covered a Mike Janzen song as well.

Heis proud to be called a Christian musician though Christian music has the negative connotation of being “too preachy.” He said his faith comes out in his music.
“ All musicians have their own style. Bryan Adams has his style and it is different than Mark Knopfler's style,” he said.
“I am a Christian. I sing about my faith. I sing about my own story and about my own life, but I can’t sing anybody else’s story or anybody else's life.  I had a woman who was an atheist who always came to my shows and I asked her why. She said ‘ You sing about your life. But the day you start singing about my life you’ll never see me again,’” he said.
“ All my music is quite personal. It’s about my life and my experience,” he continued.
“ I haven’t been to Lethbridge in about three years, so it will be nice to be back,” he said.
“ I always enjoy playing there,” he continued.
 Steve Bell plays the First Baptist Church (1615 5 avenue south), at 7 p.m., Dec. 4  Tickets are $15 plus GST.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:30 )  
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