Steve Bell set to release newest musical offering
By Aaron Epp | Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Steve Bell is set to release his new album Kindness
WINNIPEG, MB�" The last person who expected Steve Bell to record a new album in 2010 was Steve Bell.
After a bad financial year in 2009 that came as a result of the current climate in the music industry, the acclaimed singer-songwriter and his manager, Dave Zeglinski, decided it would be best to lay low in 2010.
But last summer when a Bell did an inventory of the songs he was interested in recording, he realized he had an album's worth of material ready.
So late last August, the 50-year-old Juno award winner entered the studio to begin working on his 16th album.
Kindness, which features six Bell originals and six covers, will be released in January or early February.
The six original songs he wrote for Kindness came at the end of a period of writer's block that lasted five years.
“It was dreadful�"I just couldn't turn out a song," Bell says. “Somehow I couldn't get at what was going on in my head."
Bell attributes the writer's block in part to being deeply disturbed by the state of the world, both politically and culturally. He was particularly disturbed by what he saw when he spent a week in the West Bank in 2004.
The writer's block was so severe that Bell wondered if his recording career was over.
To conquer it, he had to turn inward. During a five-day retreat at a friend's cabin, Bell spent time praying and, as he says, “attending to [his] soul."
After a one-and-a-half day period of “deep quietude that I have no language for," Bell awoke with the beginnings of the Kindness track “Birth of a Song."
“It was there that I think I wrote the best song of my life," he says. “When that song came, I realized, OK�"I'm not done."
Bell decided to title the new album Kindness after a friend suggested that kindness is the theme running through the songs.
Brian McLaren, the controversial evangelical pastor, author and speaker, wrote the title track.
“Here's a fellow who has written some books that have really stressed a lot of people out�"and for good reason�"but the vitriol that he has received back because of it is shocking," Bell says. “The mean-spirited responses and almost the hatred that has come from [some] Christians is almost overwhelming. So I found it quite moving that he would be the one to write a song called 'Kindness.'"
As Bell studied the word “kindness," he realized the magnitude of it, particularly its root in the word “kin."
“The only motivation that will ever sustain kindness in the long run is going to be a deep appreciation of a fundamental kinship between all things," Bell says, adding that it goes back to the kinship in the trinity�"the Son loving the Father and vice versa�"which ultimately results in the Father's love for us.
“So all of a sudden a word like kindness�"kindness�"you realize this is no soft word," Bell says. “This is a big word. This is not sentimental, it's not sweet ... this is [the] fabric of life."
Kindness is the most accomplished work of Bell's 22-year solo career, a career that has seen him tour throughout North America, selling more than 400,000 albums in the process.
People who have come to know Bell for his deft guitar playing, clever melodies and theologically-rich lyrics won't be disappointed with Kindness.
“This new album is probably the best one I've ever done," Bell says. “And I think I've got a few more in me yet."
For more, visit www.signpostmusic.com.