I recently sat down with radio host Amber Anderson to record a lengthy conversation about my new album. The interview has since been divided into two one-hour vodcasts which are now available online at my YouTube channel (see links below). If you’ve ever wanted to sit and listen to an album with the artist… this is that. 🙂
Only a few weeks ago I sent an email to my friend Kevin Belmonte who had written a lovely review of the new project (see: A Songwriter’s Suite: A review of Steve Bell’s new album “Wouldn’t You Love To Know.”) In the email I wrote about my sadness at what seems to be the immanent death of the album as an art form. And so I wrote to thank him particularly for referring to my project as a whole—not just a random collection of songs (available options for private playlists) but as a “songwriter’s suite.”
“I often think of an album as a being like a sentence. By that, I mean a particular constellation of words that each have their own existence and independent meaning, but when arranged in a certain order are able to say something together they can’t say apart; something intended. As when I speak a sentence to you, I’m not offering you a random bag of words for you to arrange however you wish. Rather, I’ve ordered the words in such a way as to try to tell you something. So too, with an album, an artist is able to say something with an ordered collection of songs that s/he is not able to say with an individual song. The message may be overt or subtle, prosaic or ambient, but the opportunity is there none-the-less.
Your wonderful metaphor of the “suite,” when describing my album, elegantly picks up the same point. A suite can be a fixed and deliberate arrangement of rooms for a family to inhabit. Certainly, the kitchen serves the family differently than the bathroom, the bedrooms function differently than the living room, and the entrance serves differently than the storage room. It’s okay to prefer one room over another, but all conspire to make a dwelling. And a dwelling becomes a home when it is inhabited.
I’m not sure if I’m articulating my point… but as an artist, I’m particularly moved when another’s comments reveal they heard the sentence I spoke, or, to switch metaphors, that they inhabited, even if briefly, the suite I built. And if that has been a gift to you and to those you share your life with, then I’m even more gratified, because that’s what I had hoped it would be.”
I’m quite happy to offer this pair of interviews which consider each song in order (each song is discussed and listened to) but which also subtly pokes at the arc of meaning in which each song co-inheres.
I hope you enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed the conversation and I deeply appreciate the love and care Amber Anderson brings to the art of the interview:
Wouldn’t You Love to Know / In Praise of Decay / God Bless the Poor / The Strange Blessing of Bearing / In Memoriam :
A Heartbeat Away / Because I Languish for Love / The Home of Our God / Long Shadows / Because We Hunkered Down / Do Not Judge / Together
If you wish to support Steve’s efforts, you can drop a couple of dollars in his virtual tip jar at:Buy me a coffee
You can also make a donation for a tax receipt at www.stevebell.com/support