Musician travels canal, plays in B'ville

Jean Simpson 08/13/08More articles
Chris Bell was about half way through his 530-mile canoe trip on the Erie Canal when he stopped in Baldwinsville last Friday.

He is traveling the canal from Frewsburg near Buffalo to New York City where he will play his last gig on this tour. He plays many instruments including the ukulele, harmonica, viola, voice, piano, accordion, cello, trumpet and drums. He chose to bring his ukulele and harmonica on this trip for economy of room. Bell is a musician who is looking for adventure and to decrease his carbon footprint on the world. Also, he cannot afford to pay for gas. So, for the next seven weeks he will park his 1997 Toyota. Instead, he will pick up his paddle and get into his canoe.

Bell has three CDs and has been on tour every year during the summers. He reports having played in every state but Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas in the continental US. He hopes to find adventure and promote himself on this tour by taking the Erie Canal rather than the highways. With an associate’s degree in recording and a bachelor’s degree in entertainment business, it is no wonder Bell has self produced three CDs. He will have no trouble managing the equipment he will be using at the various coffeehouses he is scheduled to play in over the next weeks. He is trying to make a name for himself and hopes to write a book titled, “Letters from the Working Class” with a friend. Publishing books is on his long list of accomplishments as well. He published his friend’s book titled, “The Writer’s Journey.”

The best thing that has happened to Bell on his trip so far has been the kindness of strangers in the recent thunderstorms in this area. He has been welcomed into people’s homes when he would likely have had severe consequences in the lightening storms. The worst thing Bell experienced so far on his trip was the lightening storms. At one point, he quickly tied his canoe up, slid down a hill and tried to find shelter. Eventually, he found a home with a dry porch and no one home. When he arrived in Baldwinsville, Chris discovered he lost his remaining food and his only change of clothes. He felt lucky to find a near by Thrifty Shopper where he purchased his new clothing.

Before he began this journey, Bell had little experience canoeing. He has been following the guidelines written on one of his floatation devises. It seems he is finding many new experiences and learning to live on the land with only what he can carry on his back. He is looking forward to meeting many more people on this trip. He played at the Shamballa Café on Saturday night to a full house. If you want to see Bell play on this tour, you can catch him in Utica as he arrives at his half way mark. He will be playing songs off his current CD, “I’ll be Home.” He also plans a winter tour that will take him to Florida. He hopes to spend a couple weeks relaxing on that tour and to drive as well.

EDITION: Baldwinsville Messenger

Rating: 2.5/5 (15 votes cast)

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