FANS OF DAN HICKS AND THE HOT LICKS might recognize Dave Bell’s guitar playing, as he’s been a loyal sideman to Hicks for some time. Bell can cover a ridiculous amount of musical ground, including rock, blues, and Joe Pass/Earl Klugh-style chord melody. He gets to flex his tasty lead chops on the latest release from Johnny Smith, Gentlemen X [Napa Rain], much of which was tracked in Bell’s studio, Bellboy Recording.
“I played my Bill Lawrence Tele a lot,” says Bell. “I ran it into a Rivera M60 amp. I also used my Ibanez George Benson model and a Novax with fanned frets and Bartolini pickups for the rockier solos, like the one on ‘First Rate Love.’”
There’s sweet playing and singing all over Gentlemen X, but Bell’s solo on “Sweet Sunny Sunday Dream” is a highlight, with beautiful clean tones and killer doublestops. Says Bell: “That’s one of those that just came together nicely.”