Spun: Belle Star

While listening to country radio last weekend I was generally disenchanted with the new, repetitive music I was hearing. However, one song, “New Girl Now,” kept coming on and I began to enjoy it more and more every time I heard it. The DJ said it was by Belle Starr, whom I had never heard of. I looked them up on YouTube and found a number of songs with strong, haunting fiddles, and moving, three-part harmonies. They have a folksy, root vibe to them, while still being modern.

I downloaded their first full-length album Belle Starr and their debut EP The Burning of Atlanta. I’ve listened to both relentlessly and have greatly enjoyed their sound. They don’t feel like just another modern country band, singing bland music that is too often heard on country radio today — they feel original, yet classic, with a new spirit that Canadian country music has been missing.

Belle Starr is comprised of Stephanie Cadman, Kendel Carson and Miranda Mulholland. Alberta-born Carson sings the lead in “New Girl Now.” Cadman, from Ottawa, does percussion, offering her step dancing skills to songs such as “Cry Love.” Mulholland, from Guelph, Ontario, wrote the instrumental “Charity Kiss.” All three women play the fiddle, and bring together a range of styles.

Along with covering songs like Springsteen’s “Tougher Than The Rest” and John Rutledge’s “Be A Man” — both which have a great feel with the three-part female harmonies — the album has three instrumental tracks mixed in. Although I do like instrumental music, I usually skip these tracks when listening to a predominantly lyrical album. But these instrumentals felt like a natural flow for the album and I found myself looking forward to them.

Overall I loved the blending of the voices and the fiddles.

If you get this album, don’t miss their EP. The song “Summerlea” has been stuck in my head for days and it’s a track that I replay once, twice or three times while listening to their music.

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