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The first thing that hit me, when I listened to Steve Bell’s Where the Good Way Lies for the first time, was a warmth to the sound that I hadn’t heard for a long time.

I grew up listening to music recorded, edited and mixed using 2″ reel-to-reel tapes. There was always a warmth to those records which has yet to be replicated by today’s digital technology.

For Where the Good Way Lies, Bell and his fellow producers Murray Pulver and Dave Zeglinski pulled out, refurbished and used Signpost studio’s now “ancient” analog equipment. The result is a CD which is a treat for the ears.

But Where the Good Way Lies is more than an aural treat. Bell is a master craftsman when it comes to songwriting and his lyrics are food for the soul.

While much of Bell’s music falls within the folk/roots category, the CD takes a few musical chances

Where the Good Way Lies opens with “Bring It On,” co-written by Murray Pulver which includes verses like “Fumbling forward on the way/Why regret, just journey on/In the end it’s all okay/Bring it on, bring it on.” The song’s lyrics affirm Bell’s comment in the CD’s notes: “We wanted to write something lighthearted to celebrate the wide swath of extreme weather that is the Canadian experience, as it mirrors the bracing depth and complexity of our lives.”

Bell finds inspiration in everything from the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation isolation (“Freedom Road”), the Church calendar (“Bethany in the Morning” and “Ash Wednesday”) and the words of Robert Louis Stevenson and N.T. Wright (“Let Beauty Awake.”)

While much of Bell’s music falls generally within the folk/roots category, the CD takes a few musical chances. “Bring It On” has a more upbeat vibe than some of his latest works. Adding to the enjoyment of this song are the trumpet parts, played by Bell (who was well on his way to being a jazz trumpet player before turning to guitar). Listeners will hear the influences of bands like Chicago, Lighthouse and the Tower of Power in the trumpet arrangements in both this song and elsewhere on the CD.

Another surprise is the title track, “Where the Good Way Lies,” which combines the stylings of First Nations vocalist Co-Co Ray Stevens and rap artist Fresh IE in a jazzy little number that takes some of its lyrical influence from a “hand-stitched quilt…that memorializes the seven sacred teachings of Indigenous wisdom.”

Where the Good Way Lies successfully straddles that dangerous ground between providing the music fans look forward to and recording music that stretches the artist’s creative muscles. And that makes it worth listening to over and over and over…


For more information on Steve Bell and the Where the Good Way Lies CD check: http://stevebell.com/

To listen to theĀ Arts Connection interview where Steve Bell talks about recording of Where the Good Way Lies check: http://tinyurl.com/zfgjrmz