Cellist Christopher Bell at Bookworm Bakery & Café May 25

May 22, 2013

Online Staff Report

Cellist Christopher Bell is not one to sit idle. May 25, his travels bring him to Bookworm Bakery & Café, 6685 E. State St., Rockford, at 7:30 p.m., free admission.

Bell’s most defining feature is his unusual way of playing the cello — standing up, he straps it to his body like a guitar. Using his looping pedal, which allows him to record and play back his instruments on the fly, he blends classical composition with rock-star bravado. This is most evident in his medley of Harry Nilsson’s “One” and the Prelude to Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3. The classical piece slowly blends into the contemporary, as Bell adds layers of cello and trumpet; he tops it off with hip-hop-influenced beat boxing.

Bell’s new album, From Here to There, brings him back to his folkier roots. These 10 songs tell intricately woven stories that relate to the small-town lives surrounding him in upstate New York — tales of nostalgia, yearning, lost love and hope.

Bell writes fast. These songs were picked from more than 30 written in the course of six weeks.

I wouldn’t let myself go to sleep before I finished a song,” he said. “Sometimes I’d spend eight hours on one, staying up ’til 4 a.m.”

He enlisted a far-spread group of musicians to help him complete the album. They span five different states, on each coast of the U.S.

No stranger to the road, Bell plays 150 shows a year, playing everywhere from farmers’ markets to bars to town festivals. His tour schedule can be found at TheChrisBell.com.

Bell gained national acclaim for utilizing unique modes of transportation to tour, including canoeing the Erie Canal, biking from upstate New York to Chicago, and walking across Massachusetts. The prolific young artist currently resides in Jamestown, N.Y., where he runs Silent Home Records, a recording studio and record label.

Posted May 22, 2013

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