Bethel Steele

Bethel Steele

 Fort Collins, Colorado, USA
SoloFolkSinger/Songwriter

Country-inspired Americana-sounding rootsy queer traveling singer-songwriter who really fancies bicycles, coffee and science projects. Bethel Steele is an award-winning singer-songwriter based out of Fort Collins, CO, who sings in a sweet alto and whose music is an amalgam of Lori McKenna, Ani DiFranco and Neil Young. Bethel has two full-length studio projects and two EPs. The latest release is "Shadows and Light."

Biography

Short Bio:

Americana-inspired singer songwriter Bethel Steele has toured from Portland, Maine to Austin, Texas slinging songs and sharing stories with listeners. Steele’s career began in Boston, MA in 2008 and after releasing four projects there, is now based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Kelly Walker, host of the Sundilla Radio Hour, says this of the latest release, an EP called “Shadows and Light”: "Bethel draws the listener in with songs that are clearly intensely personal, but reveal themselves to be true for us all. You cannot help but be moved and perhaps changed a little for the better in listening to them."

Video Links:

"Bigger Prize" from 'Broken Record' 
"Whiskey" from 'Of Love and Whiskey' 
"Sunrise" from 'Of Love and Whiskey'

Accolades:
2013 CT Folk Festival Songwriting Competition Finalist
2013 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist
2013 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2012 Iguana Music Fund Winner (Club Passim)
2012 Hudson Valley Songfest Best New Artist Finalist

Long Bio:

Americana-inspired singer songwriter Bethel Steele has toured from Portland, Maine to Austin, Texas slinging songs and sharing stories with listeners. Steele’s career began in Boston, MA in 2008 and after releasing four projects there, is now based out of Fort Collins, Colorado. Something of an amalgam of Lori McKenna, Ani DiFranco, Lucinda Williams and Neil Young, Bethel’s sound is the combination of a smoky alto voice and a guitar playing style that ranges from percussive and driving to delicate and sweet. While exploring the intrinsic beauty in whiskey-soaked one night stands, the stories of thrill-seekers and the unrelenting passage of time, Steele “draws the listener in with songs that are clearly intensely personal, but reveal themselves to be true for us all. You cannot help but be moved and perhaps changed a little for the better in listening to them." (Kelly Walker, Sundilla Radio Hour)


Steele’s newest release, ‘Shadows and Light,’ is a 6-song project produced and engineered by long-time friend Neale Eckstein of Fox Run Studios in Sudbury, MA. The intention of the record was to create a record that was both vulnerable and uplifting. The EP features performances by Boston locals Tom Bianchi (Baker Thomas Band), Charlie Rose (
Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Jonathan Edwards, Josh Ritter and Rose Cousins), Adam Michael Rothberg (singer-songwriter and producer) and Pat Wictor (Brother Sun).

 
Two other studio records have resulted from Bethel and Neale’s friendship that was established in the summer of 2011 at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. ‘Of Love and Whiskey’ (released in 2012), co-produced by Neale Eckstein, of Fox Run Studio/Fox Run House Concerts and Jagoda, NYC percussionist of Swamp Cabbage and ‘Broken Record,’ an acoustic 5-song EP that has influences from the blues, bluegrass and the story-telling folk genres.
 
John Apice, a reviewer for NoDepression.com, writes this about Bethel's music: "Steele knows how to tell a great story, adorn it in bright musical colors and deliver confidently... [with a] deep, beautiful cognac flavored voice surrounded by a wealth of original material. Bethel is confident and sings with authority... Bethel has eyes, ears and heart open, pencil sharpened and sees what many other artists seem to miss."

In 2013, Bethel was recognized as a Kerrville New Folk Finalist and as a Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist. Additionally, Steele was awarded a grant from Club Passim’s Iguana Music Fund to share music and speak in schools and LGBTQ-focused youth groups presenting “The Skin You’re In: how to be yourself in world that tries to fit you into a box.”
 
"The singer-songwriter movement started in the early 1970s. By now, it can be called a tradition, and with Bethel Steele, it is in good hands." - Darius Ripps of 'Oliver di Place' music blog

Lyrics

The Farm

Written By: Bethel Steele

Down the path and over the bridge
To the sound of the gravel road
Grassy fields and quaking leaves,
When you look that's what you see
And your voice carries long and strong
From the barn to the farm house
Where momma's cooking beets and greens
And daddy's reading the daily news
you can hear from here the sounds
Of the old porch swing

There is history
Within these walls
Stories paperless and cracking at the seams
And the floor creaks and moans
Beneath your feet your every move
Whispers of the lives come and gone
On this here farm

And daddy's reading rain
By the cycles of the moon
Beneath the grape arbor shade
Planted back a hundred years
When the barn stalls were full
And the garden's yield sustained
Well the stalls are empty now
And the garden's growing strong
Ever since that big flood came
And that was back in '62,
In '96 they planted peach trees by the gate

There is history
Within these walls
Stories paperless and cracking at the seams
And the floor creaks and moans
Beneath your feet your every move
Whispers of the lives come and gone
On this here farm

Relics of time
Marked by
the ladybugs and mothballs
Piled between
The glass and storm frame
The decades remain

There is history
Within these walls
Stories paperless and cracking at the seams
And the floor creaks and moans
Beneath your feet your every move
Whispers of the lives come and gone
On this here farm

Blue Skies

Written By: Bethel Steele

Lookin' out from my window
I found a view,
The one I was trying to find
It'd been spitting rain all day
And the sky was a deep-dark
Ugly mean grey
And I was just fighting for the light

And the heavens opened wide,
The clouds did divide
And all I could see
For miles and miles and miles in between were,

Blue skies, all the way from here to South Carolina
Blue skies, all the grey had turned to color in my eyes
Blue skies, goodbye to the doubt that once filled my mind for
Blue skies, there's hope for another day, with blue skies

I was lying in my bed that night
Aligning myself with one mind
And I was teaching my self
Breathe in let go
I offered up a little prayer
I promised myself I could keep it there
But all it's earnestness
Just made it up and take flight

And the heavens opened wide,
The clouds did divide
And all I could see
For miles and miles and miles in between were,

Blue skies, all the way from here to South Carolina
Blue skies, all the grey had turned to color in my eyes
Blue skies, goodbye to the doubt that once filled my mind for
Blue skies, there's hope for another day, with blue skies

B.A.S.E.

Written By: Bethel Steele

El Cap and looking down
'In fear' he says 'I won't live my life'
flirting with disaster
In the game he plays
Running towards the edge
A crowd it grows beneath him
To watch him fly
A daily pilgrammage

His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground
His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground

The exit cleared and falling
His body tumbles towards the ground below
His confidence it faulters
The wind's stolen the show
With cameras aimed, he's pushed towards the face
Bracing for the blow

His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground
His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground

But blinded by the sun
Spectators looking up
Only to find
They've lost sight

His feet have always landed on the ground

His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground
His chute has always opened
His feet have always landed on the ground

With Age

Written By: Bethel Steele

My brain is crowded, like a train
Too many people, too small a space
And all the noises, they grow with speed

My body’s frail, like a spring time ice melt
Thawing quickly beneath your feet,
Even fishermen, won’t tread up on me

After 70 years of living
The doctors say I’ll never win
But they weren’t alive
In ’45, when I was given a year to live

My writing’s shaky like a shiver on a cold night
A bracing body from, a frozen touch,
Just a note from, winter remains

My steps are timid as the first of a baby’s
Reaching out for, a place to land
As if the ground were shifting beneath

After 70 years of living
The doctors say I’ll never win
But they weren’t alive
In ’45, when I was given a year to live

My brain is crowded, like a train
So many memories, they can’t replace
All the wisdom, that grows with age

Whiskey

Written By: Bethel Steele

I’ve been meaning to write to you
I’ve been meaning to call
I’ve been meaning to reach out my hand
But every time I do I fall

‘Cause every time
I think about you
I reach for the whiskey

I never cared much for Jack Daniels
No, not until I met the likes of you
A little ginger brew, whiskey and honey
It’s warming me up, it’s getting me through

And every time
I think about you,
I reach for the whiskey

And my living room
Is plastered with
Half written letters
And bottles to spin

‘Cause every time,
I think about you,
I reach for the whiskey

Sunrise

Written By: Bethel Steele

We drive against the sun
We bid adieu to what the day has brought us
We pinch ourselves to know
If we're still here
If not, where did we go

And we talk and talk in circles 'til we can't remember
How we came to be or how we end
When nights turn into days and still we're wondering
Let's kiss, at the break of day

We'd sleep and dream of joy
If only we could lay our heads back down
But time, it's short, it's sweet
Sure as the leaves appear on these trees,
They fall to our feet

And we talk and talk in circles 'til we can't remember
How we came to be or how we end
When nights turn into days and still we're wondering
Let's kiss, at the break of day

Let's live in this moment
And take love as it comes
For weeks or a lifetime
Or until the sunrises

And we talk and talk in circles 'til we can't remember
How we came to be or how we end
When nights turn into days and still we're wondering
Let's kiss, at the break of day

Broken Record

Written By: Bethel Steele

There was a week,
where everything nearly crashed and burned
You were a spark,
we were a flame, it was the end of the season
Where everything is bound to catch fire
With nature to blame

I want you to know
I meant every word I said to you those nights
Yeah, I know
Everything I told you only fanned the flame of this fire
And there are only so many ways,
I can try to explain myself,
Before it all sounds the same

I've been running 'round in circles
Trying to fix this mess I created
I've been lying to myself
Sayin' I'd have normal again
But what the hell does that mean
When you've thrown everything into the fire

I want you to know
I meant every word I said to you those nights
Yeah, I know
Everything I told you only fanned the flame of this fire
And there are only so many ways,
I can try to explain myself,
Before it all sounds the same

I'm a broken record baby
And I'm afraid we're running out of time
I can't go back or make it better
And I think I'm done with trying
I think I'm done tonight

But I want you to know
I meant every word I said to you those nights
Yeah, I know
Everything I told you only fanned the flame of this fire
And there are only so many ways,
I can try to explain myself,
Before it all sounds the same

Words of Wisdom

Written By: Bethel Steele

Momma once said, momma once said,
Don't try, and grow up too fast
Don't grow up too fast, you grow up too fast,
You'll surely be wishing for your innocence back
These years will pass you by, like rushing water
And the shifting sands of time, they will yield no longer
Oh, Momma said, my momma said, momma said, yeah momma said
Don't grow up too fast

And poppa told me, poppa told me
Don't work too hard, you'll be working for your life
Don't work too hard, dear, you work too hard,
Yes I can see it in your eyes, you are run by your 9 to 5
Life's too short to let the man,
Pull you under
Get consumed by your working life
And you will live no longer
Oh my poppa said, poppa said, poppa said, yeah poppa said
Don't work too hard

Ma and Pa, where are you now
I'm stuck in a rut and I can't get out
Your words of wisdom,
I need them now

Don't grow up fast
Don't work too hard
And don't die young
Don't die young
Don't die young

Bigger Prize

Written By: Bethel Steele

Some days,
All I need is a little grace,
All I want is a little space
To feel like I'm here
Like this place I'm living in is real
Like this body I'm cast in is mine
Like the grass might be greener on the other side
Somedays

I find I'm often looking for the easy way
Cut the corners, rush through life
Make a rolling stop at all the signs
But I've heard there's a smaller door
With a bigger prize
A brighter sunset,
But a harder climb
Who wants easy anyway?

One of these days,
I'm going to slow it down
Pay attention to what's around me
I'll look up
Instead of always looking down
I know I might not get all that far
But at least I'll start to see things as they really are
Oh, one of these days

I find I'm often looking for the easy way
Cut the corners, rush through life
Make a rolling stop at all the signs
But I've heard there's a smaller door
With a bigger prize
A brighter sunset,
But a harder climb
Who wants easy anyway?

Today,
I'm going to sit in my skin,
I'm going to take it all in,
Soak up the sunshine,
Even on those partly cloudy days
I'm going to slow dance in the hallways
And stop to smell the roses,
Even when I can't stay, today

I find I'm often looking for the easy way
Cut the corners, rush through life
Make a rolling stop at all the signs
But I've heard there's a smaller door
With a bigger prize
A brighter sunset,
But a harder climb
Who wants easy anyway?