image:  Carey Shaw

image: Carey Shaw

Belle Plaine is a singer, a songwriter and an inventive musician who was raised on the Canadian prairies near the hamlet of Fosston, Saskatchewan – population: 54. The ingenuity, lonesome yearning and collaborative work ethic of country life have infiltrated her songwriting, her sound and her methods. Belle’s reverence for artists who defy categorization has led her to create a brand of roots music that combines vintage blues and swing tones of the 1940s with classic country styles made popular in the heyday of the Grand Ole Opry. Belle’s greatest strength is an unfailing ability to weave stories, genres and emotions with her formidable voice. 

Twangy early influences from the family AM Radio mixed with a dozen years of classical voice training throughout Belle’s upbringing led her into studying contemporary music in college. When Belle started performing full-time, she paired her voice with instinctive songwriting and a tinder-dry wit, and that provided all the fuel required to make hearts smoulder.

The prairie songstress’s most recent release, The Unrequited Love (2016), is a live concert recording. It introduces unseasoned listeners to Belle’s musical versatility and onstage charm, as well as the revolving cast of talented friends who tastefully embellish her ideas with backup vocals, keyboards, upright bass, drums, electric guitar, brass and accordion. The album mixes her original songs with a little Bessie Smith, a little Tom Waits, and some Kristofferson for good measure. Belle's greatest joy is performing for an audience, and she's made that joy audible on The Unrequited Love.

Belle’s chameleon abilities have become a catalyst for an impressive array of collaborations. In 2015 she appeared as a guest vocalist on Colter Wall’s breakthrough debut album, Imaginary Appalachia. In 2016 she performed her work with the Regina Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 her co-writing and harmony-singing chops will be featured on Blake Berglund’s upcoming album, Realms. Throughout all of her projects, Belle also works closely with Saskatchewan artists in other fields, including visual arts and dance. 

Belle Plaine has built a loyal following that continues to flourish. She has been rewarded with festival spots such as at Small Halls on Prince Edward Island and Regina Folk Festival in Saskatchewan, and appearances at industry events like Folk Alliance International and JUNOfest. Evidenced by the long-standing support of industry stalwarts like CKUA Alberta, to a recent nod from CBC’s q with Tom Powers, Belle is proving her entrepreneurial spirit with multiple releases and cross-country tours under her belt – making it clear that she is a career musician who relishes sharing her voice, and her songs, with the world. 

If 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.
— Kelley Jo Burke, CBC