Posted by: Billy Marsh | February 13, 2008

Simple Songs: In Steve Bell’s Living Room

Simple Songs ~ Steve Bell

A long time ago, I reviewed one of Steve Bell’s albums entitled, Waiting for Aidan. I still commend that record to you with much eagerness due to its amazing quality in every aspect. For those of you (probably the majority reading this) who are in the dark as to who is Steve Bell, I will try and fill in the gaps. He is a Canadian Christian folk artist who, despite his immense popularity among the Canucks, has remained relatively obscure in the U.S. However, his fame is not completely restrained by geographical borders. Across the board, and apparently among some our familiar Christian artists such as Phil Keaggy, Bell is well known and respected.

The album that I’m wanting to promote in this post is called Simple Songs. It was the first record in the “Livingroom series” (a Canadian project). The intent of this series was to give a broken down, intimate set of songs and musical experience. Although the CD sounds finely produced, there still remains an informal and personal touch to each track that feels like you’ve been transported to Bell’s home for a time of worship and serenading.

Bell pretty much keeps the musicianship in the family on this one. He plays all the instruments and sings the lead and background vocals. However, on the song “We Come”, Bell’s son, Jesse Bell, plays an additional guitar, and on “Unto the Least of These”, Bell’s daughter, Sarah Bell, adds her smooth and gentle voice to some of the lead vocals in a sort of duet with her father. Both of those songs are two of my standout favorites on the album.

There are a few instrumentals where Bell showcases his fingerpicking abilities. His medley of “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”, “Be Thou My Vision”, and “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, has a strong Phil Keaggy-esque arrangement to it. It is very melodic and does all three songs justice. There are also two covers, one instrumental (“Foxglove”) and one vocal (“All the Diamonds”), of Bruce Cockburn songs.

All in all, this CD has become one of my favorites. It is very “simple”, but incredibly profound insofar as it has to offer so many different things such as quality musicianship, deep and moving lyrics, celtic songs, folk songs, an old gospel tune, well-crafted and executed instrumentals, family-oriented, flowing melodies, quiet and tender worship, and an overwhelming sense of humbleness and holiness. The album is steeped in articulate and reverent orthodox theology. In addition, the record serves as a perfect calmer to a busy and hectic day, perhaps even when one’s pride has been boosted for striving on his or her own strength. You will not be able to listen to Bell’s intimate session without lowering your heart and feeling your body suddenly wanting to give way and collapse at the throne of grace and mercy, where Jesus sits at the right of God the Father, waiting for us all to come “Home”.

I have placed some of my favorites in the Box.net media player in the sidebar. Feel free to check the songs out and let me know what you think. Click here to purchase Bell’s Simple Songs for only $2.97. It’s a small price to pay for Christian music that so powerfully captures the essence of worship and imparts the peace of Christ.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for your blog :)


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