Album Story by Steve Bell
This live recording is culled from several concerts recorded across Canada in 1999. I had the immense privilege of touring with Fergus Marsh (bass and chapman stick/ Bruce Cockburn, Mark Heard), Hugh Marsh (violin/ Bruce Cockburn, Loreena McKinnett) and Greg Black on drums.
You may have noticed that there are two covers for this album. Long story short, each was packaged by a different company but both contain exactly the same music.
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer / Cross Rhythms UK / June 1, 2000 – Steve Bell has been much heralded in these pages and on UCB radio simply because he is an anointed songwriter and all round good egg! It was a shrewd move for Steve to steal Bruce Cockburn’s backing band and even shrewder that he recorded this live set with them! Bell’s gentle folk songs take on a new life when he has the Chapman stick-playing Fergus Marsh adding some rhythmic fluidity to the proceedings. Of course adding into the mix Greg Black’s sensitive drumming and the wonderful violin of Steve Marsh and this live album is cooking! The whole setting is a perfect vehicle for a run through Steve Bell’s most popular songs and some examples of his dry sense of humour. It’s worth buying this just to hear him tell how prisoners in a Canadian jail taught him to play guitar! Steve’s trademark understated approach is well executed here with the band never crowding in too much on the gentler material. But then hearing the band in full flow on “Comfort My People” or “Hear Our Prayer” is just sheer joy but they really let loose on the encore “Deep Calls to Deep”. If you haven’t yet discovered Steve’s integrity-filled inspiring songs, this intimate and creative setting takes them to another level.
Note: this album is no longer available in disc form.