Singer-songwriter Shell Bells appeared at Angelo’s Piano Lounge on Tuesday night to kick off her weekly residency there. She plays a mix of covers and originals, bringing her guitar and looping pedals in addition to auxiliary instruments such as elephant bells, sound bowls, and kazoo.

“It’s like a portal to 1972,” Bells said about Angelo’s.

Shell Bells has been performing in and around Milwaukee since 2013.

“There was a good folk revival happening, like what Johanna Rose was doing. There were lots of underground house shows happening around Riverwest, so I started with buying a ukulele and writing songs, and I’ve been playing out ever since.”

The covers Shell Bells plays range from Tracy Chapman to Fleetwood Mac to Maggie Rogers to Buffalo Springfield. She shares her songwriting process.

“I feel like anyone you ask right now is going to reference the strange time that we’re living in. I live alone so I’ve been doing a lot of introspection and inner healing, and so my songs are little maps of the healing that I’ve been doing. When it comes to anything that I’m dealing with as far as love or how to be a better person, these are little nuggets of wisdom. I’ll write them from my smaller self and then try to be intentional with what my older, wiser self would say.”

While she hasn’t released any recorded material yet, it’s on her agenda to.

“I’m slowly piecing and puzzling together how that will look and how to best execute that for the attention span of the modern human.”

Shell Bells is at Angelo’s every Tuesday from 8PM to midnight.

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