CLASSIC – Singers/songwriters Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund perform Sept. 7th at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer.

CLASSIC – Singers/songwriters Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund perform Sept. 7th at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer.

Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund launch collaborative disc

Regina-based prairie sweethearts Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund are gearing up to release a country/folk music double-single

Regina-based prairie sweethearts Belle Plaine and Blake Berglund are gearing up to release a country/folk music double-single, gold-toned vinyl record next month and are hitting the road to support the project. They perform Sept. 7th at Fratters in Red Deer.

The release beautifully pays homage to fellow Saskatchewan songwriter Zachary Lucky. The couple recorded two tracks from Lucky’s catalogue – Town to Town and Saskatchewan.

All copies of the limited edition vinyl are expected to sell during the tour, which covers western Canada. The singles will also be available via iTunes. The recordings were produced by former frontman of The Waltons Jason Plumb.

“Blake and I were in Kansas City in 2014 for an event called Folk Alliance International,” explains Plaine. “It gets people from all over North America together – it’s a showcase event, it’s a conference event – it’s an incredible thing to go to make connections with people from all over North America,” she explains. “And we found ourselves getting to know western Canadian musicians that we had heard of, or were just hearing of there.

“We were watching Zachary play – he’s so hardworking, he’s from Saskatoon, he’s prolific and so talented. I leaned over and said to Blake, we should be singing this song! We were just starting to sing together and we were writing together and we were looking for material that suited us.

Saskatchewan is about being home, and Town to Town is about traveling and being all over the country.”

Berglund agrees. “It was fun to interpret his material because he is such a strong writer.”

Meanwhile, listening to Plaine and Berglund it’s very clear these two are such a natural, engaging blend in terms of their artistry. Both songs bubble over with a charming authenticity and warmth. Not to mention their work as individual artists, which continues to attract new fans and define them as noteworthy artist in their own right.

“It’s become something where I can jump in on a lot of Blake’s sets and sing back-up for him – so it’s been really good for me as a musician,” explains Plaine of the collaboration.

“It’s been really great to see how another band works and also having such a positive experience from growing and learning.”

As for their live shows, Plaine and Berglund will each perform a set with their own sideplayers – Elizabeth Curry on bass and Jeremy Sauer on keys for Plaine and Bryce Lewis on guitar for Berglund.

To close each, the ensemble will come together for a selection of duets including Town to Town and Saskatchewan from the co-release, Kris Kristofferson’s Chase The Feeling, and Ian & Sylvia’s Summer Wages.

“We’ve become so integrated in each other’s writing processes, and our bands have become so integrated in each other’s songs, that it works really well,” explains Berglund.

Plaine agrees, adding that it really is structured around the overall flow and honouring the songs. “That’s how both of us work in constructing a set list – also thinking about the spaces between the songs and what kind of stories can be told,” she said. “For those two hours with an audience, you want that time to feel like it’s time they don’t even know is passing. That’s at the heart of what we are doing. That’s our objective – to give people something that takes them out of their own lives for a couple hours.”

Plaine has one of those gorgeous and extraordinarily rare voices that is pretty much instantly addictive. Over the years, her tunes have percolated with jazz, pop and old-fashioned country richness.

Raised in the farming community of Fosston, Saskatchewan, her distinctive sound draws on a wide-ranging musical background, including years of professional training (formal study at MacEwan University) and performances stretching back to her youth.

Plaine’s voice lends itself to various styles, from outlaw country to 1940s swing, adding a smoky, sultry touch to every song she sings. Her debut CD Notes From A Waitress earned the number three position on the earshot National Jazz Chart and number one on Edmonton, Ottawa and Lethbridge Jazz charts in early 2012.

At 18, she knew she wanted to write songs, perform and have a home recording studio. But when she moved to Edmonton to study jazz, her focus shifted toward a more technical aspect of music: sound recording. After graduation, she worked in a Calgary studio.

Eager for change, she enrolled at the University of Victoria as an environmental science major. Having fallen in love with Victoria’s arts community she dropped out of school.

She later found herself in Sydney, Australia for a stint and the creativity continued to grow. In 2006, she returned to Saskatchewan and found a home in Regina’s arts community.

Berglund’s fresh style of country has been described as unpredictable, intelligent and genuine. His love for music stretches back to his younger days, as he recalls his grandfather always carrying a harmonica around with him.

Berglund also took piano lessons over his growing up years, and then eventually discovered the guitar. As mentioned, he went on to explore a number of genres before finding his niche in music that follows a country/folk sensibility. But Berglund, like Plaine, can’t be strictly categorized when it comes to style. That attribute in itself fuels their overall charm as outstanding artists who aren’t wary of continued sonic exploration.

“I come from a cowboy culture – I guess when it became my turn to go in that direction I chose music as opposed to rodeo. So it was great to come back ‘full circle’ and really care about cowboy culture again with everything I learned from being on the road for seven years as an independent rock musician.”

Over the years, Berglund has released four CDs – 2007’s Blake Berglund & Kennedy Rodeo, Ends of the Earth (2010), Coyote (2012) and Jasper (2014).

He earned an Independent Music Award in 2010, was granted Rawlco Radio’s 10K20 Bursary in 2013 and was named Roots Artist of the Year at the 2013 Saskatchewan Country Music Association Awards.

Berglund’s authentic songwriting and stage show also landed him showcasing opportunities at the 2012 Breakout West Festival, the 2012 Canadian Country Music Awards, and the 2013 Canadian Music Week Festival.

Meanwhile, Plumb, who again produced the latest

project, speaks warmly about the pair.

“I’ve been a fan of both Blake and Belle for quite some time,” he explained. “After seeing their live performance, I couldn’t wait to get them in the studio together. It’s always interesting when songwriters choose to record another artist’s material. The art is in the interpretation. And with these two, you can hear their chemistry on the recording.”

Plaine is quick to return the compliment. “He comes to our shows when we are playing around town – he’s really become a friend and a support. I trust him so deeply. It’s been such a positive experience having met him and becoming a part of his life.”

editor@reddeerexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Police officers and their dogs undergo training at the RCMP Police Dog Services training centre in Innisfail, Alta., on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. Mounties say they are searching for an armed and dangerous man near a provincial park in northern Alberta who is believed to have shot and killed a service dog during a police chase. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
RCMP search for armed man in northern Alberta after police dog shot and killed

Cpl. Deanna Fontaine says a police service dog named Jago was shot during the pursuit

Alberta now has 2,336 active cases of COVID-19, with 237 people in hospital, including 58 in intensive care. (Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early November

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Flora Northwest was taken to the Ermineskin residential school when she was six years old. (Emily Jaycox/Ponoka News)
Ermineskin residential school survivor: ‘It just brings me back to the cries at night’

Discovery in Kamloops of remains of 215 children a painful time for survivors

Most Read