Belle Starr Belle Starr

Belle Starr Belle Starr

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There seems to be something of a trend of rootsy Canadian female singer-songwriters joining forces in new duos and trios. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Trent Severn and Scarlett Jane are Belle Starr, the twist here being that all three members are also acclaimed fiddle players. Those fearing an excessive amount of fiddle sounds can rest easy though, for Miranda Mulholland, Kendel Carson and Stephanie Cadman have come up with a highly listenable full-length debut album that showcases their vocal abilities as much as their instrumental prowess. Assisting the cause are such A-list players as Josh Finlayson (who also produced), Kevin and Gary Breit, Maury Lafoy, and Stuart Cameron. Belle Starr show impeccable taste, in terms of outside writers to cover, adding a feminine touch to tunes from Springsteen, John Hiatt and Bryan Ferry, alongside Canadians Justin Rutledge (and Michael Ondaatje!), the Skydiggers, NQ Arbuckle, Neil Young and Jack Marks. Roxy Music classic "Same Old Scene" is given a haunting makeover, while lively and catchy Marks tune "New Girl Now" (not the Honeymoon Suite hit) is an obvious choice for first single. The trio touch upon many musical bases: "Heartbreaker" has a retro, jazzy lilt; "Art O'Leary" is a folk-styled ballad built upon fiddle and voice, confirming less can be more; and haunting instrumental "Plough the Sea" closes things out on a melancholy note. Look for the trio to break big on the folk fest circuit. (Independent)