My Dinner with Steve (sort of)

I’m too tired to post anything of substance.  Dixie and I got home at 2:00a.m. after a Steve Bell (& co.) concert in Saskatoon.   Excellent show, as always.  It was mostly unfamiliar stuff from his new worship album, Devotion, but it was great nonetheless.  Steve music and lyrics have a depth to them that never fail to move, and his stories are always entertaining.  Kerri Woelke, John Buller, Roy Salmond and Mike Janzen, touring with Steve Bell, were all also excellent.  Mike Janzen’s jazz piano solos alone were worth the price of admission.

Kerri Woelke  [Kerji Stephens] is a friend of mine from Bible college.  She sent me a message to call her a couple of weeks ago, which I did.  Apparently she’d been telling the guys that I had taught her guitar.  This is true, when you get down to it: I taught her the basic chords, some strumming and rhythm, and told her to loosen up.  And we played a whole lot of Counting Crows, Cranberries and Frente together.  Chances are that there was more to it than that, but my memory does not serve, so I tend to downplay it.  That was a long time ago.

I’m quite flattered that she remembers.  I tend to assume that people move on with their lives and leave the past behind—I don’t, but for some reason I assume other people do—so it is always a pleasant surprise when someone calls or bumps into you and says things like, “Remember when…” or “I was just telling my friend about the time…”

So she was telling everyone that I had taught her guitar and that I’d likely be at the concert in Saskatoon, to which they replied, “Bring the ol’ boy ’round, what?”  (I wasn’t there, so that phrasing could be inaccurate.)  After the show she invited Dixie and I to join her and Steve and the rest of the guys for their 11 o’clock post-concert supper at Moxies.  So we hung out for an hour or two, eating, drinking, talking.  They’re a great bunch.

Back to immediately after the concert: Kerri called Steve over and introduced us.

“So you’re a musician?” he asks, a question presumably based on the revelation that I taught Kerri guitar.  This is why I’m reluctant to talk about it: it’s a point of pride on the one hand; on the other hand is the realization that some people might take that to mean much more than simply teaching her some chords and telling her to loosen up.  I have improved since Bible college, but not by leaps and bounds.

“No,” I replied stupidly.  “Well, I play guitar, so I guess I’m a musician.  But I’m not a Musician.”

“Do you write?”


Dang.  If there was ever a time I wished I had applied myself to music and guitar lo these last 15 years or so, it was then.  Talk about deflating—for a moment Steve Bell and I had a talking point beyond the usual fan-to-artist chit-chat and then I went and stuck a fork in it.  (Was I too humble?  What’s the definition of “musician”?  Do I meet the criteria?  I was thinking of it in terms of someone who does it professionally.)

Never mind.  It was a great evening.

You, dear reader, should go to their concert when they come your way.  I’ve never been disappointed by one of his concerts (and we figure we’ve been to 9 or 10 of them).   Go buy your tickets.  Do it.  NOW.

Idiot moment of the weekend: Dixie and I had supper at McNally Robinson.  I had ordered some coffee.

“Would you like cream or milk?” asked our waitress.

“Both,” said I.


“Wait—what?  No, I thought that—I meant…Cream is good.”

I won’t bother finding excuses for that one.

5 thoughts on “My Dinner with Steve (sort of)

  1. Collette

    aw, a good half of my friends are artists. it can get really intimidating, particularly during Hallowe’en and costume parties!!

    I’m going to go have coffee with both now. ha. (but by both I mean milk and sugar, hee.)

  2. Phil L

    Sounds like an evening to remember.

    I’ve seen Steve Bell a couple of times, and have been very impressed with his stage presence/banter as well as his music.

    Good mentoring job.

  3. Toni

    Marc – I understand a bit.

    It’s quite hard to see oneself as a *real* musician if you don’t get paid for what you do, and even if you do sometimes. But humility is a good thing, especially if you’re not utterly wonderful. But at the same time, it’s good to recognise what you CAN do and to be comfy in it.

    FWIW I usually say I play guitar a little.

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