Josie Bello released Have Purpose Live Long over the summer, a collection of eight songs and her second album, following the well-played Can’t Go Home. Bello is a singer-songwriter born and raised in New York City and now living on Long Island, where she plays as a solo artist, as a duo with her husband for local charitable events, and with her band, The Kit House Band, for Festivals.
The eight tracks reflect this feel of a seasoned performer who works well with the band – try ‘Party With the Saints’ a humorous look at Catholic guilt where the band gives a dancing performance to support Bello, in this song about a good girl who’s going to take off the brakes when she gets to heaven.
Equally, there are some songs on here which would play strongly in a solo performance. I think my favourite is ‘Not the America Of My Dreams’. The song is about a migrant family’s difficult journey from Central America to the US and is flavoured with lyrics making a jarring contrast between their experience and the promise of the American Dream: “Well there was no American welcome, no open arms/This wasn’t the land of Abraham and we weren’t safe from harm”; “We were tired and poor/Unexpected at your door/A huddled mass of humanity/Yearning to be free/Made it clear to me that the statute of limitations/Had run out on the Statue of Liberty”. Although the band are present on this track, you feel it would come over as strongly if it were solo.
There’s also a nice contrast in a songwriter who can write from the different perspectives, for example, that of the woman in ‘All It Takes Is Time’ who is suffering silently and exhorted to dress well because what has happened to her will “fade with time” and that of the man reflecting on divorce in ‘Twenty-Five Years’ when love has gone astray and “even living gets old”.
The medley below gives a flavour of this predominantly country/folk album.
Artist’s website: https://josiebello.com/home
‘Have Purpose Live Long’ medley: