Keening for the Dawn
Steve Bell is a singer-songwriter in the contemporary Christian milieu. This means that Keening for the Dawn is sadly devoid of songs about elves or odes to getting righteously ploughed on mulled wine and having slow, sloppy sex under the mistletoe. Thankfully, it also means that Bell has opted not to add his take on Joni Mitchell’s “River” to the canon. Instead, he offers solemn meditations on, as the CD booklet puts it, “Advent, Nativity, & Epiphany”. Some of the songs are originals, some are from the classical world (Gustav Holst’s setting of Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”), and some are traditional carols (“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”). Now, admittedly, we like to keep our Christmases as Jesus-free as possible around our way (the dude kind of puts a damper on all the aforementioned festive drinkin’ and fuckin’), but Bell’s warm, acoustically inclined approach to this material is kind of irresistible.