This year Steve Bell, whom I call Canada’s Eric Clapton, is celebrating 25 years of making music. The Winnipeg, Manitoba musician may not be well-known in America, but for those of you who appreciate earnest singer-songwriters who like to tell stories in their songs, Bell is your man.
Growing up with a dad who worked in a prison, Bell would often hang out with the inmates. That has informed his songwriting as well as his music career. He often tells funny and interesting stories about those days.
Now 53, Bell, who attends an Anglican church, is about to release his 18th album, which is a four-disc set called Pilgrimage. It promises to be a real treat for fans of faith-informed music, with new versions of old favorites, covers by fellow musicians, and instrumentals. Unlike the cookie cutter sound of Nashville, Bell makes “Christian music” that deals with loss, lament, discovery and a person’s spiritual journey.
I’m also looking forward to seeing Burning Ember: The Steve Bell Journey, a documentary film coming soon. –Mark Weber