Back in the Saddle

Nanci and Daisy | Victoria Beach
Nanci and Daisy | Victoria Beach

I think the last few months are the longest I’ve ever gone without performing  concerts since I started singing full time in the early 90’s. This was deliberate. Dave, my manager, and I are starting to feel our age and the cost of constant output without time to let the well fill up again. And so we have committed to try to make summers such a time.  Unfortunately, our ability to pay our bills and our staff’s salaries is directly connected to me doing concerts. So, as some cisterns refill – others empty :(.

IMG_7755As far as that goes,  yesterday was the last day of summer for me. It was Nanci’s birthday and we headed north about an hour’s drive to Victoria Beach where we leisurely enjoyed the sun, the sands and the waters.  Most of the cottagers have gone home for the fall and the beaches were pretty much empty but for a spare few like ourselves and the most majestic of bald eagles who graciously settled for an hour or so behind us in the tallest of the trees that secure the shoreline.

As the sun started to lower in the late afternoon I was able to photograph one of nature’s most soul-settling scenes:

tVictoria Beach | Sept. 13, 2009
Victoria Beach | Sept. 13, 2009

I’ve written about this in song:

From august shores and summers past
Low sun fire on the liquid glass
From facets on the surface of the bay

Burns the beauty deep inside
Returning when I close my eyes
To find me when I’m time and miles away
Calling me back again

Almost too much for human eyes
Diamonds from the other side

Song: Diamonds From The Other Side | Album: Waiting for Aidan | Steve Bell and Carolyn Arends

Click arrow  above to hear song.

But now it’s back to work! This week I’m off for concerts on the west coast; Vancouver, Surrey and Seattle.  I’m a bit nervous as I feel a little disconnected from the stage after such a long period away, but I’m quite pumped as well. I love my work. I’m one of the lucky ones. My job is to mine my experience –  looking for “rumours of Glory” and finding ways to tell those stories and sing those signposts for others.  Believe me, I’ve had worse jobs.

steve-bell-soloThis fall’s touring season is a little different than the past several years’ as I am back to sitting by myself on a stool.  Last fall, we put a great band together for the Devotion tour. And when that wasn’t happening, I was performing with symphonies across the country.  These are really wonderful concerts for me – to be on stage and feel the energy of God’s communion (Trinity) flow through the mutual othering of a community of musicians on stage. There’s nothing quite like it.  But I enjoy the solo stage, as well, where I can auger into the guitar and wring out every melodic and percussive nuance that God has given me capacity for. I do love the spontaneity of the solo stage where there is no set list to submit to.  Sometimes this works out great – other times… not so well, but the vulnerability of it is quite  exhilarating.

So if you are considering attending a concert this fall, but for a few symphony concerts in December,  it’ll be just you and me.  I’m working on digging out some songs that have been forgotten over the years as well as performing some new songs that will likely make the core of my next recording. Of course I’ll do favourites as well.

BTW – Concert-goers will be offered a free download of one of my newest (unreleased) songs.

Hope to see you out!  Check the concert schedule page for possible dates near you – or near friends and family you think might enjoy such an evening.



P.S. You’ll notice for some concerts there is offered a “Premium Ticket.”  This is really for folks who would like to help with the ongoing costs of this work I do.  It is a more expensive seat that offers early access to the auditorium (to select a seat of choice), a chance to come say hi and hang with me before the concert, as well as a free CD of your choice.  Around our office this is cheekily called “meet & greet and a first choice seat.”

Like everyone else, we’re feeling the squeeze of the recession and this is one way folks can help out if they are so inclined. In the next few weeks I’ll be writing a bit about the vision and financial reality of my work. I am looking for ministry partners to help sustain and promote this gift God has entrusted me with and I’ll outline some of the ways folks can join with me. But for now this is a simple, fun opportunity to be co-beligerents in the call to “promote Christian faith and thoughtful living through artful word and song.”