Cellist, vocalist and loop artist, Christopher Bell, has released a full-length album entitled "From Here To There" and has started a tour to promote the new tunes.
The new album features 10 tracks, a theme that Bell said most can relate to, other local musicians and a first for Bell - no cello.
"I'm a cellist, but there is no cello on the new album," said Bell, of Frewsburg. "On my last album, the self-titled one, almost every song was cello except for two synthesizer songs. After writing about 35 cello songs for that album I thought everything would sound the same on this album. So, I lived with this married couple who had a 5-year-old son, and he had this little kid guitar. So, I'd sit with this little kid guitar to write 15 songs because it simplified things and let me focus on the lyrics and the songwriting. But, I will be playing cello and guitar, not the little kid one, live on the new songs."
According to Bell, when he writes albums he writes five songs a week for six to eight weeks, and over the course of that writing process, a theme eventually develops.
"It's not even conscious, but usually about 20 songs in I start noticing what's bugging me - and it's like therapy," said Bell. "The overall theme I started seeing in the songs is that all the characters are either looking back, or trying to get someplace and everyone's in transition. So, the phrase, 'From Here To There' came out."
As far as the new material goes, Bell's favorites stem from the songwriting process, recording and live performances, he said.
"My favorite from songwriting is 'Will We Get There Someday,' because I love the story and the song." said Bell. "Then from recording live I love 'Try To Make It Right' because I tried to make it sound as weird as possible. And, from when I'm playing live I love 'I Want To Be Loved' because it has so much energy, and I'm just ripping at the cello."
"I Want To Be Loved" has a bit of a dark rock based theme to it that Bell really enjoys, he said.
"The worst story you can tell is about someone's day that goes well because that's really boring," said Bell. "'Win Peter Winters' was such a dark album. The whole point of that album was that life is suffering, and you will die. That's a horrible thing to go out live and ask everyone to sit down for an hour to listen to. But, I love doing that; it's such a fun thing. And, with 'I Want To Be Loved' it's kind of about this evil character, but you can relate to it because everyone wants to be loved."
"From Here To There" was mastered at Silent Home Records and features several other local musicians. On "I Want To Be Loved" are Steve Rosplock of Phantasm on vocals and guitar and Joe Grice on bass. Grice also appears on "DIY" and "I Miss You."
"I had this really rockin' song that I didn't know what to do with so I decided to give it to the rock guys that I know: Steve and Joe," said Bell.
Pat Post appears on keys for "Will We Get There Someday?" and "Long Black Night."
"Pat and I have very different styles, I'm very much about jazz chords and harmony, and he just wants to sit down and rock out," said Bell. "His piano playing is just awesome. He did the solo on 'Long Black Night,' and he is that song. I showed it to him, and he took it to a whole new level."
Cody Hiller adds violin to "Going To Chicago," "Will We Get There Someday?" and "Always Looking Forward."
"Cody and I also worked together on 'Win Peter Winters,' and working with him is just easy," said Bell. "I let him make up his own parts, and didn't dictate him, so he did what he wanted and we formulated the parts with him doing what he does best."
Joel Murray, a friend of Bell's who lives in California, played drums on several tracks, which were recorded at JLiu Productions in Bradbury, Calif.
"My friend Joel Murray used to tour with me. He is from Frewsburg as well, and now he lives out in L.A.," said Bell. "He's like my right-hand man for albums. I'll write the 40 songs, and we'll hang out to listen to them all. Out of those 40, 10 will be great, and what Joel does is help me pick out songs. He's sort of a cross between a counselor and an idea man."
Bell has started a tour to promote his new album. He'll spend some time in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania before returning to New York. He said he will likely play a show in the area sometime in April. So far, Bell says he's only played about half of the new album live. But, the crowd at episode 19 of Rolling Hills Radio enjoyed it when he played "DIY" and "Will We Get There Someday," he said.
"From Here To There" is available for purchase and to stream in its entirety at christopherbell.bandcamp.com/album/from-here-to-there. Episode 19 of Rolling Hills Radio, in which Bell performed "DIY" and "Will We Get There Someday?" can be downloaded at wrfalp.wordpress.com/rolling-hills-radio. For more information visit www.thechrisbell.com or search for "Chris Bell" on Facebook.