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A Songwriter’s Suite: A Review of Steve Bell’s “Wouldn’t You Love To Know?”

“…in praise of an album that belongs in the rare company of Dan Fogelberg’s “The Innocent Age” and Bruce Cockburn’s “Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws.”

March 7, 2021
Album: Wouldn’t You Love To Know? | Steve Bell
Signpost Music 2021

by Kevin Belmonte

From the first measures of acoustic guitar, and a flourish of violin, those who listen to Steve’s Bell’s sterling release, Wouldn’t You Love To Know? will find a cycle of songs that beckon in season and song. The album bears a poet’s touch, in lyric lines, and songcraft richly burnished for collaboration with a stellar array of gifted artists.

One may set the scene, in idea, as though Bell were gathered with this company of performers in a favourite setting, say a storied, small venue in his native Canada. Here, all are friends for a premiere of songs at once so welcome, though new, they seem a cache of tracks well known for years.

That’s something rare and remarkable: an instant connection with word and music, a warmth of artistry and meaning that deepens as one listens. The cycle of songs on this album are a seamless whole. They vary in style and tempo, some contemplative, others upbeat (often with a touch of fluegelhorn) yet all carry the allure of a songwriter’s reflection that is the hallmark of Bell’s music.

Themes of faith, whether from classic text or days of Bell’s own pilgrimage, grace this album. But there are also themes of recollection, loss, and gratitude for a beloved parent, as with Bell’s stirring tribute to his father, “In Memoriam.” Yet it almost seems unfitting, beyond this, to cite any set of ‘essential tracks’ on Wouldn’t You Love To Know?

Their quality is such, and their interweaving so deftly done, that they need, I think, to be seen like the movements of what could be called a “songwriter’s suite.” Throughout, we have the gift of Bell’s voice: wistful, wise, and fine as any flourish of guitar or violin present in these songs.

All in praise of an album that belongs in the rare company of Dan Fogelberg’s The Innocent Age and Bruce Cockburn’s Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws. Kindred virtues rest in Bell’s album.

Seek this album, and listen. Many gifts await.

Kevin Belmonte is the author of the award-winning biography, “William Wilberforce: A Hero for Humanity.” For six years he was the lead historical consultant for the film, “Amazing Grace.” His most recent book is “Beacon-Light: The Life of William Borden (1887-1913).

Video: Wouldn’t You Love to Know?
Featuring: Steve Bell (voice and guitar), Jenee Fleenor (fiddle), Pulver (electric guitar),
Micah Bell (bass), Cara Luft (claw-hammer banjo)

Watch: “Wouldn’t You Love to Know?”

Other Reviews:

A Walk Through Steve Bell’s Latest Album
– John Stackhouse | Faith Today Magazine)

Hight Art Formed in the Crucible of Life
– Carolyn Arends | Independent Review

Prophetic Lyrics and New Creation hope in Steve Bell’s Latest Album
– Brian Walsh | Christian Courier Magazine

Bell, Steve – Wouldn’t You Love To Know?
– Michael Dalton | The Phantom Tollbooth