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Belles of the Plaines

belle-plaine thumb.jpgIf Patsy Cline and Blossom Dearie had a love child she would sing like Belle Plaine. Belle's voice is old timey and jazzy. It has twang, crystal bells and swing. You listen to this voice, and all of a sudden your cheatin' heart has a very dry martini in hand, and you're hearing something both timeless and brand new. And we've got her on the X this week, recorded live at the "Girls are Back in Town" CBC concert, along with the silky steel poetry of Regina's Katherine Lawrence.

Belle ext.jpgListen to the whole concert again, courtesy of CBC Radio 2's Concerts on Demand.

Regina's 'Best Singer' and 'Best Solo Act', Belle Plaine, will release her first full-length album Notes From A Waitress Jan 29 2012. Her own brand of jazz fusion unites swing with vintage country and feminine pop. Belle will tour the prairies in January and February 2012 with her band: Elizabeth Curry on stand-up bass and Jeremy Sauer on piano. Regina album release concert: Fri Jan 27 7pm The Artesian (2627 13th Ave), tickets at Mysteria Gallery.

Belle is an acoustic guitar-playing, storytelling vocalist who Grant Lawrence declared his "musical discovery" at the 2010 Regina Folk Festival. Audiences will hear three-part harmonies and experience a set list that includes Belle's original music, sensual jazz standards such as Fever and Bye Bye Blackbird, in addition to country classics such as Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys.

Belle grew up on a farm near the village of Fosston SK, population 57. Though raised on AM country radio, she was always drawn to Motown and the unforgettable voice of Ella Fitzgerald. Belle studied jazz at Edmonton's Grant MacEwan University. Adventure soon drew her to Victoria and then love pulled her Australia. Music brought her home to Canada where she has since performed over 100 shows.

 The title track and theme for Belle Plaine's first full-length album Notes From A Waitress blossomed from one of Belle's more memorable jobs in Sydney, Australia. She was making a living as a waitress in a dodgy restaurant, complete with cockroaches, overly friendly cooks and the nocturnal visits of rodents. What else would a songwriter need for inspiration?

 Belle describes the album: "I wanted the songs to read as a travelogue from the other side of the world and back. They're like souvenirs from each journey. It's my throwback to the vocal jazz of the 1960s. Think of Peggy Lee and Julie London. I created Notes From A Waitress in the spirit of these artists."


Katherine Lawrence lives in Regina. Her poetry has appeared in numerous Canadian journals and anthologies. Her first book, Ring Finger, Left Hand (Coteau Books, 2001) won a Saskatchewan Book Award. Her second collection, Lying to Our Mothers, (Coteau Books, 2006) was a finalist in the 2006 Saskatchewan Book Awards.