The name Belle Plaine evokes wide-open spaces and big, dancing skies, and that’s just how the performer by the same name likes it.
Fresh off of winning the 2018 Saskatchewan Music Award for album of the year for Malic, Mercy, Grief & Wrath, Belle Plaine is heading to Prince Albert for an intimate, solo performance at Jam Street Music Sessions next Friday.
The singer-songwriter was originally intending to pursue her music career in Quebec, but ultimately decided to stay in Saskatchewan. So far, the decision has panned out for her.
“I chose the name (Belle Plaine) to be evocative of the prairies and feminine so it would reflect my roots,” she said.
“I’m very blessed to have this name that seems fitting for the music and seems fitting for me as a solo performer.”
Belle grew up near Fosston, Sask., a hamlet of 45 people located about 200 km due east of Saskatoon.
“Big skies, some power lines, flat — that’s what it looked like where I grew up, so that name and the geography really speaks to how I spent my early years.”
Now, she lives in Regina, making music based on the roots of country music.
“It’s all influenced by classic country, and that songwriting of folk musicians,” she said.
“That just means getting to what is true in an emotion or in a story. That’s what I’m trying to get at with my music and then deliver it with as much simplicity and clarity as I can. But when you listen to the record there’s a lot more atmospheric feel to it to evoke those moods that live within the songwriting.”
That feel is resonating with listeners. Beyond winning the SaskMusic award for album of the year, Belle Plaine’s latest work has gotten some attention south of the border from some big players.
“How far it has gone has really surprised me, in who is listening to it and where they are in the world, and the recognition it’s had from some other media outlets in the States,” she said.
“Rolling Stone was kind of a big one for me, and the streaming service Tidal got very excited about it, and gave a lot of love to it and to me. I’ve never had anything go this far and be successful, so it’s very exciting.”
In Canada, it’s been charting on Earshot, which measures college and community radio, alongside Metric and Shad, acts that have been around a lot longer and sold a lot more records, with a lot more resources behind them.
“I released this album on my own — no label, no manager,” Belle Plaine said.
“Seeing it rise and fall with all those other artists on those charts has really amazed me and given me a lot of confidence as a songwriter.”
It’s those skills as a singer, songwriter and storyteller that will be on display in Prince Albert on Friday.
“When I’m doing solo shows, I really focus on the storytelling and focus on the crowd understand what brought the song to light,” she said.
“Giving them a little bit of extra information about the characters and stories.”
Anyone interested in hearing those stories can do so Friday at Jam Street Music. Tickets are $20 and must be bought in advance. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8.
She’s also performing Saturday at Christopher Lake. That concert is being held at the Anderson Community Centre and will also cost $20.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m.
Feel free to bring an appetizer or dessert to that show, presented by the Lakeland Curling Club.