Bluesman Lurrie Bell says he always wanted to record an album of gospel music and his dream finally came true with the release of “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music.”
Bell’s introduction to music came from his father, the late harmonica great Carey Bell. As the son of one of Chicago’s most famous musicians, Bell says he never missed an opportunity to play the blues.
“As a kid I used go on to the west side of Chicago and hear my dad rehearse a lot with his band there, when I was a youngster," he said. "I picked up the guitar and taught myself how to play a blues song and I’ve been playing it ever since. I think I had to be five years old when I picked up the guitar."
Bell expanded his musical horizons when he spent seven years living with his grandparents in Mississippi and Alabama. He says before returning to Chicago at age 14, he immersed himself in gospel while adding his own touch of the blues.
“When I was living down in Lisman, Alabama I played gospel music, but I would put some blues licks in some of the church revivals and the Sunday school meetings," he said. "But I never did forget what I learned about blues.”
Bell has done a lot of work in Europe and says it is a thrill to play there.
“It really is. The people there in Europe go way out of their way to show American culture," he said. "They really let you know that they really love and appreciate that kind of music when you go over there [and play] in those European countries.”
Bell will perform at the 29th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, before embarking on the “Chicago Blues: A Living History” tour of Italy, France and Switzerland. He’s also slated to appear in Japan and Argentina.
His new album “The Devil Ain’t Got No Music” features traditional gospel tunes, as well as songs by Muddy Waters, Tom Waits, James Taylor, Thomas Dorsey, Mathew Skoller and Joe Louis Walker.