Sometimes Life Does Not Suck!
I recently went to a blues club to see a legend Rick Estrin and the Nightcats perform. As I was being escorted to my seat, I heard my name called over my shoulder. It turned out to be Bill Wax, founder of XM Radio’s Bluesville and Mark Wenner of The Nighthawks. I was instructed to change my seating arrangement and sit with them. Anyone that knows about respect in the Blues community understands when an established entity makes a request of you, you honor it without question. This came about a second time that evening when Rick Estrin called both Mark and me to the stage from the crowd to perform with him and his band. What an honor! I am reminded of the years of support that I have received as an artist from friends, family, and mentors. Having seen several of my immediate family members in and out of the hospital in the past few months, that evening is a strong reminder of how important it is to recognize those who mean so much to us. Don’t wait to tell them- make a point to say I appreciate, I love and/or I respect what you have done for me to someone in your life today.
In honor of those lost in the Naval Yard Shooting
In refection of the recent tragedy in the Naval Yard (an area we have played for our servicemen many times), I invite everyone to take time for thoughts, prayers, or otherwise for those who work for and serve our country, and their families who were affected. In the moment, many politicians, entertainers and the like use tragedies such as this as their pulpit to pontificate about societal issues such as gun control. I remind those people that while you have the God-given American right to express your opinion about those things, please don’t do it without remembrance of those we have lost, who have worked so hard for you to have such a right. This is not in response or in an effort to take a stance on any issue; it is an effort to remind us all that political issues are never more important than the lives of our loved ones. God bless the United States of America.
Rest in Peace, Bobby Blue Bland
I have struggled for what to say about the passing of Bobby “Blue" Bland. As many of you know, he has longtime been my idol, my mentor, and the inspiration behind much of my professional career. In my home office, there’s a framed ticket from the very first time I ever opened for Bobby Bland, signed by him. Many times since then, he and I have sat together, and I have reminded him of what it was like to be a 12 year old boy sitting in his dressing room listening to him tell stories of life on the road, and life as a black man growing up in the south. On my wall, there’s an original 45 of “I’ll Take Care of You", one of the greatest songs ever performed.
To Maurice, Bobby’s longtime road manager, body guard, and friend- thank you for allowing me to be in his presence. To his wonderful band (Joe, Rodd, Reggie aka Young Blood, etc)- thank you for allowing me to share the stage. And lastly, to Bobby- thank you for taking a confused adolescent who pondered the questions that all confused adolescents do (i.e. to be or not to be) and helping to give me purpose. You told me to keep singing, to go to college, and to keep it pushing. I have relayed that advice to many others in the last 18 years of my career. I could only hope that in the twilight of my career, someone would reward me by the mere mention of my name in the same sentence as yours. I will always remember singing with you in your dressing room and the back of your tour bus just as much as on stage. The next time will be in the heavens. God bless you Bobby “Blue" Bland, now go sing where it matters the most! Kelly Bell
Kelly responds to the changes on 98 Rock
As many of you know, I have been an adjunct family member of the 98 Rock family since the Kirk, Mark and Lopez days. Most recently, I was honored to be a recurring character on the Mickey, Amelia and Spiegel show. I am sure that Josh Spiegel’s intelligence, Amelia’s beauty and confidence and Mickey’s ability to captivate an audience will continue to take them far in whatever direction they choose. I look forward to being a part of the next chapter in 98 Rock history. Kelly Bell
Tribute to Rodd Bland
Many people have asked why I have not responded to the recent death of Blues legend and Rock n’ Roll hall of famer Bobby “Blue" Bland. The truth is, anyone who knows me understands how much he and his music have meant in my life. Before I address his particular contribution to music, and my life, I would like first to send out my condolences to his drummer, his son, and my personal friend, Roderick Bland. Rodd and I have gotten to know each other in the last few years, and he has helped me understand how challenging it is to not only be a touring Blues band, but the son of a legend. I take this time to say God bless you Rodd and your family, and know that all of us that know anything about music will truly miss your father. Kelly Bell