Jamie Howison’s reflection on Steve’s Bell’s Pilgrimage, originally posted on the website of the Rupert’s Land News
The September 15, 2014 release of the four CD set Pilgrimage finds Steve Bell celebrating not only the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of his first solo project, Comfort My People, but also marking a brief stopping place along his 25 year personal and spiritual pilgrimage as a musical truth-teller.
- To listen to a sample of “Mercy Now” click the arrow:
Recorded with a very modest budget and originally released only on cassette, Comfort My People was entirely funded by Steve’s friend and mentor, the Jesuit priest Bob McDougall. When Father McDougall first proposed he record the album, Steve wasn’t entirely convinced. He’d never considered himself a songwriter, and while he was active in his church community, he wasn’t sure he had all that much to say as a musician of faith. Even when the first run of those cassettes arrived from the manufacturer, he more or less assumed it was a one-off sort of project.
- To listen to a sample of Pop-pop and the Lads, click the arrow:
Two things, though, were undeniable. Those who heard the album responded very positively, and it wasn’t long before people were asking for more. And in spite of the fact that he’d not previously written all that many songs, as he’d worked on material for Comfort My People he’d found songs coming so quickly that it felt they were being all but given to him. Many of the original songs on that album were built around texts from the Hebrew scriptures, notably from the psalms (23, 90, 126), and so in a real sense it was through his exploration of biblical voices that he’d found his own writing voice.
- To listen to a sample of “Lenten Lands” click the arrow
To read the rest of the article on the Rupert’s Land News site, click here.