When Life Gives You Empty Seats . . . 

Touring folk rocker turns tales from the lonely road into new tunes.

Singer-guitarist Christopher Bell is used to snoozing in his car or pigging out on gas-station and rest-stop cuisine while crisscrossing the country on tour. It's not a glorious life, and it's even more of a bummer when Bell shows up at a coffee shop or house party to find a lukewarm audience. But his tour diaries have become a gold mine of ideas for his debut album, I'll Be Home. There's "With the Show," about surviving onstage in front of a bored audience. And on the title track, Bell grows homesick for his native Jamestown, New York. "It took over a year to record. So there's a good period of writing and living in between," says Bell, who'll perform in Lakewood tonight with a truckload of instruments like mandolin, harmonica, and drums.While most of his material is autobiographical, Bell has also written songs about his favorite TV shows. "Being in college and having no life, I used to watch a lot of M*A*S*H," he says. "It came to me, while watching the final episode, that there was a good song in it. So I took out my banjo and started writing." Bell takes the mic at 9 tonight at Bela Dubby, 13321 Madison Avenue in Lakewood. Admission is free. Call 216-221-4479 or visit www.myspace.com/beladubby.
Sat., Feb. 2, 9 p.m., 2008

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