Belle Starr Packs Its Fiddles for Ottawa
In the 1800s, Belle Starr was the name of a notorious American outlaw. Today the title has also come to represent a Canadian female trio, who similar to the rebel, defy categories.
The band, consisting of Miranda Mulholland, Kendel Carson and Stephanie Cadman, hit the road this February on a national winter tour. They will be performing at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn on Thursday night.
Belle Starr doesn’t sit in a specific genre of music, according to Cadman.
“I think we have pushed the boundaries and sing a fusion of folk, roots, pop and Celtic,” she says. “We think outside the box and play a lot of music that people probably wouldn’t expect three women to play.”
Each band member contributes pieces of their independent solo artist career to Belle Starr. Mulholland is a member of indie darlings Great Lake Swimmers, Carson is well known in the song-writing Americana world, and Cadman is a prize-winning fiddler and step dancer from Ottawa.
“We are able to do three part fiddle harmonies on top of doing three part vocal harmonies and as a step dancer, I am able to provide the rhythm for the songs with my feet instead of a drum kit,” explains Cadman. “I think that makes us pretty unique.”
“Jolene” is one of Belle Starr’s first official music videos. It showcases the resonating harmonies Cadman speaks about along with her impressive dancing abilities.
Belle Starr released its EP The Burning of Atlanta in 2012, which was followed by a full-length self-titled album in 2013. It is a collection of distinctly covered old-time folk tunes by artists including Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Dolly Parton. The most recent record also includes three original instrumental tracks.
“When we first got together we decided to record covers because we didn’t quite know what our sound would be,” says Cadman. “We thought it might be a nice way to get to know each other’s styles.”
Belle Starr’s next step is to write together – a challenge the women have accepted for the album they are currently working on. Some of the material will be performed while on tour this month.
Traveling the country and playing music with Belle Starr is a “real treat” for Cadman.
“The three of us have become really good friends, best friends, and I think that is why after years of touring together we are still so enthusiastic about it,” Cadman says.
“Each of us have spent a lot of time with men on the road so it is also nice to tour in a group of women who like to do the same things like getting up to go to yoga or vintage shopping… and the car smells a lot better,” she chuckles.
In this century, word of Belle Starr coming to town is nothing but good news.
For more information on the band or to purchase show tickets, visit the Belle Starr website.