Folk artist Jan Bell will perform a live music solo at 4:30 pm on June 30th at People’s Park. The show will be free and open to the public as part of the People’s Park concert series.
Bell first came into contact with the organizers of the concert series after playing “Saturday’s Child”, a WFHB radio show hosted by Dan Grundmann. She said the concert series organizers contacted her after hearing her on the show and asked her to apply for the series.
His most recent album, “Goodbye View”, was released on May 31st. With a short seven track record, the album was recorded a number of years ago with Bell’s band, the Maybelles. Bell said they were planning to release and tour the album when it was recorded, but other band members became pregnant.
Born in Yorkshire, England, Bell currently splits her time between Brooklyn, New York, and Brown County, Indiana. She started out as a songwriter in New York City and still plays there often, also founding and directing a biannual folk music festival called Brooklyn Americana, which is entering her eighth year.
As the festival’s summer edition falls during Pride Month, Bell said its stage aims to showcase artists from the LGBTQ community and performers of color. Although the festival features mostly folk music, Bell said his definition of “Americana” is broader than that.
“I say it’s American because Americana is such a big umbrella. It can incorporate jazz and folk and country and blues and so on, “Bell said.
Bell has lived and performed all over the country, including New Orleans, Nashville, Indiana, Eureka Springs, Arizona, and the Ozark Mountains. He talked about Opal Fly, a Brown County saxophonist who Bell plays with now, and their time playing in Eureka Springs.
“Opal and I lived in Eureka Springs at the same time. In fact, when I was the snare drummer in his band, we opened there for Ray Charles and his orchestra, “Bell said.” It’s a population of 2,000 but they have a 1,000 seat theater.
Bell said his show at People’s Park will be mostly original music, but he typically plays a melody or two from one of his inspirations, such as Woody Guthrie. She pointed out, however, that most of her set will likely be new to audiences.
“If you’re the kind of person who goes to live music to hear someone play something you know, they’re not for you,” Bell said. “Live music is what makes life colorful and interesting and I feel it’s a privilege for me to have the microphone and be the amplified voice.”