As a full timer, Daniel Bell has only been in Brevard a few months, but the young musician has already sized up his new digs.
“People here really love live music, and I’ve met some great musicians here,” he said.
Music wasn’t the native Georgian’s sole reason for relocating from Nashville, however, but it seems enough to keep him here for a while.
Indeed, this is far from Bell’s first experience with our mountain town.
“Like my father, I went to Camp Carolina” as a youngster, recalled Bell.
His father is building a retirement home on a lake between Brevard and Asheville and Bell plies his construction skills to help his dad out.
The music is a sidelight but one he hopes to do more of.
Not altogether familiar with the downtown, he walked into Wine Down and asked” “Who do I have to talk to get to play?”
After that nervy request, Bell had his first paying gig under his belt.
He played before “a packed house … and after a couple of covers I heard some clapping, snuck in a couple of originals and they opened up the calendar to me.”
He laughed about his one concern: “I hope my singing voice is tolerable.” It must be: he’s booked for April 12.
Bell is no stranger to performing. In Athens he’s played with bands across the music spectrum: rock, blue rock, metal, funk and bluegrass. Most notably he’s played with the Isacc Bramlett Band featuring Sunny Ortiz, also a percussion player with Widespread Panic. Bell still commutes to Georgia to play with In House Drive By, a Rage Against The Machine cover band. But local solo work is his focus for now.
That is, in part, because the COVID-19 pandemic made it “tough for musicians all over.”
“It was much harder to book a whole band to coordinate with five guys. It got a little easier to book gigs” (as a soloist), he said.
Bell cut his guitar teeth idolizing to his father whom he called an “excellent guitar player.”
The elder Bell played with a band that featured Micheal Stipe, who later joined REM and won a Grammy. Daniel would listen to his father play then “run off and practice.” A source of pride was breaking “three wah-wah pedals playing Voodoo Child” at the age of 12.
Bell said to “learn the guitar felt natural” and thus owns a late 1960s Gibson Hummingbird, a Mitchell acoustic Cutaway and a Fender American Stratocaster. But he “plays just about anything with strings” including the banjo and mandolin.
Bell is a regular at Sunday evening jam sessions at 185 King Street.
He hopes to become a regular in Brevard, too. “I would love to stay here. It’s like a second home to me. I’m a mountain boy in a great music town,” he said
A white water kayaker in his spare moments, Bell has some advice for anyone who sees Brevard as sedate.
“People think this is a sleepy little mountain town,” that is anything but, he said.
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