For The Morning Star
Saskatchewan-born singer Belle Plaine doesn’t remember when she became interested in music. She started singing along to the radio as soon as she started talking.
By kindergarden, she was singing in the Christmas concert and by Grade 1, she was taking voice lessons.
Blake Berglund grew up in a ranching family in southeastern Saskatchewan and by high school had decided guitar was cooler than piano.
He formed a punk, pseudo-metal, hard rock band and years later, gravitated to the outlaw country, singer-songwriter style he is now known for.
Now Prairie sweethearts, co-writers and crib opponents, Plaine and Berglund are the next act to be presented by the Vernon Folk-Roots Music Society for a classic double-bill, Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Spitfire Lounge.
Plaine and Berglund say they are always appreciative of a live audience.
“We’re very accessible folks,” said Berglund. “We’re independent artists, living in the van who are very real. What a huge compliment it is to have people pay good money to see us play. We feel it’s our duty to give back and it’ll be done in spades through the performance on Saturday night.”
Likened to Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris and the more jazz-influenced Jill Barber, Plaine’s musical background is diverse and includes years of professional vocal training at MacEwan University in Edmonton.
Her voice lends itself to a wide variety of styles, ranging from 1940s’ swing to outlaw country – all done in a smoky, sultry style.
Like Plaine, Berglund is also a songwriter and says when he started writing songs it was important for him to write about the cowboy life and rural, western Canadian lifestyle in an honest way. To his surprise, the authenticity of his songs went over well, even in big urban centres such as Toronto.
“I had to get out of my own way and realize that if the lyrics and stories are real, people will identify,” he said.
Berglund also discovered another key element to successful songwriting.
“Humour has been such a big aspect in my writing. Whether the humour is dry or overt, making people laugh is great. The stories are funny and I play a bit of a character on stage. But there are stories that need to be told and for the majority of them, they’re experiences that I continue to think about and in the end, can’t believe actually happened to me.”
Plaine and Berglunds’ Vernon performance promises to have a twist. Each will perform a set of his/her own songs, and they will also collaborate on a few tunes in each set. They will be accompanied by guitarist Bryce Lewis throughout the evening.
They close the night by coming together for a selection of duets, including Town To Town and Saskatchewan from their 2015 vinyl release, and will also perform Kris Kristofferson’s Chase The Feeling, Ian and Sylvia’s Summer Wages and the perennial crowd favourite Mercury Blues, which was originally released in 1952 by K.C. Douglas.
Doors to Saturday’s show (19-plus) open at 6:45 p.m. Show time is 7:30 p.m. The Spitfire Lounge is located in the Army, Navy and Airforce Club, 2500 46th Ave. Tickets are $20, $15 for VFRMS members, at ticketseller.ca, vernonfolkroots.com, Bean Scene (Vernon), Spitfire Lounge, or at the door (if available),