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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Friday ó May 21, 2004

Features

Guitarist finds home

Getting back a performing groove


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Music should come naturally to a person whose name is Bell. When a 10-year-old kid from Tulsa named Will Bell got his first guitar, it was pure destiny. Indeed, Bell, who now lives in Hailey with his wife Anja and their three children, has been making music for well over 20 years.

Will Bell brings a distinct rockiní sound to the acoustic music scene in the Valley. courtesy photo

A resident of the Wood River Valley for two years, Bell is finally getting back into his performing groove. And, after a year or so of playing in the valley with Dave and the Badges Blues Band, he is now performing as a solo acoustic artist at diVine wine bar in Hailey on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

He describes his music as acoustic country blues but from the way he talks (and upon listening to a CD he cut in Boise this year), I suspect itís more akin to acoustic southern rock. He is an Allman Brothers fan, first and foremost. As a singer his influence has always been Greg Allman, Johnny Van Zant and Bob Seeger, he said.

He plays a lot of original music as well as songs other people have written.

"Itís my personal interpretation of othersí music," he said slyly. In other words, he doesnít do covers, which are meant to reproduce as closely as possible the original tune.

For over 15 years Bell lived in Santa Fe, where he made a living playing at such establishments as El Farol and Lone Wolf Cafť, where the odd celebrity or musician might sit in with his band.

Eventually, Bell and family moved to Washington, then to Boise, where he worked in security. Then two years ago he was hired to provide security for an estate north of Ketchum.

A year ago he became the supervisor of distribution and purchasing at St. Lukeís Wood River Medical Center, south of Ketchum.

Bell says he also received help from the Sunburst Guitar Gallery in Ketchum, setting up with some new equipment. "They have been really cool about helping me," he said.

The Badges Blues Band opened for both Bruce Willis and his band and for the Paul deLay Band at The Mint in Hailey. The band also has played at The Red Elephant in Hailey and Silver Dollar in Bellevue, as well as Pi in Boise and Oasis in Twin Falls.

Since the band dispersed, Bell has been playing at diVine, a charming wine bar in downtown Hailey. He says the atmosphere is friendly. "Itís like sitting in my living room and playing with a bunch of my friends."

In other words, itís home. He even has the friends who drop in to play with him from time to time. Country musician Randy Roberts brought in his stand-up bass and played just last week. And Chip Booth, who also can be found at Sunburst in Ketchum, is planning on joining him occasionally on his mandolin and bass guitar.

Bell works the room, too, chatting up audiences and sometimes reminding them gently that the tip jar is not a decorative piece.

Ring the Bell.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.





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