Cheeky, cheesy and wildly charismatic, “Is It Cheating” finds Belle Plaine dueting with fellow Saskatchewan troubadour Colter Wall. “Is it cheating if you don’t get laid?” they sing in the chorus, before a barrelhouse piano steals the spotlight for an unchained, half-lit solo. A crowd favorite whose tone differs sharply from the rest of the alt-country tracks filling her latest album, Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath, “Is It Cheating” is a reminder that even the most serious songwriters deserve a chance to unwind.
I know you, Regina. You’ve been trying to play it cool, but I can tell you have a full-on crush on this album. Who could blame you? Since Notes From A Waitress came out in January, it has been a favourite on both CBC Saskatchewan and CJTR. And the rest of us have had it on high rotation in our homes and cars for months now. One listen is all you’ll need to know why: lyrically, it’s smart and funny, sad and soulful. Musically, it’s swingy, good humoured, a little salty, with just enough sultry to keep you riveted to your speakers.
—Prairie Dog Magazine
Belle Plaine is a national treasure - a true Canadian. She can sing like a hot-damn, was ready to leave on tour at a moment's notice and shot the shit out of a spoon with a BB gun from the 50 yard mark.
Notes From A Waitress (her debut full-length effort), has been given a resounding thumbs-up from fans accross the country as well. Featuring songs that range in style from jazz to country, Hankewich has managed to capture a sound that has its heart firmly rooted in the prairie fields and small towns where she grew up.
…Belle crochets a wonderful mix of old country, classic western, alternative rock, and jazz swing to create a beautiful blanket of music that is an artistic keepsake.
By the myriad of reference on the album it’s obvious Plaine is a student of folk and country traditions, though the album is anything but pastiche.
—American Standard Time
Belle Plaine has the voice of an angel and the on stage presence of a seasoned professional. When she opens her mouth the audience stops their chattering to listen - works every time. I would highly recommend her as a superb addition to any lineup or concert series.
—Sandra Butel, Regina Folk Festival Artistic Director
Her voice sounds timeless, somehow equally sultry, seductive, fragile, and dusky while still capable of room-filling bombast when the moment calls for it. One gets the sense that she could sing anything and she proved it last Friday by effortlessly switching from the jazz-pop numbers on Waitress to the folk-based songs on her preceding EP. It’s not so much that her voice changes in any way to suit those styles, more that she has the strength, control, and natural tone to make it almost universal in its application. To borrow an old cliche: she could sing the phone book and The Artesian would still be standing-room only.
—Sound Salvation Army