Following their muse has made Aka Belle hard to categorize - from bittersweet folksy protest pop songs, to heavy guitar driven feedback mixed with sultry, retro tropicalia jazz
vibes, they’ve been anything but predictable.
At the core, Aka Belle remains the same (Catherine Merrick, Sam Merrick and Michael P.Waite), but now with two new members who push this Boise band towards “Supergroup” status:Gina Gregerson (of much lauded Dirt Fishermen and Lovey fame) joined as backing vocalist andguitarist, and was followed closely by the addition of Troy Wright, on drums. Troy also plays inHand of Doom (a Black Sabbath tribute band); as well as being a member of Troyject,Treepeople and State of Confusion.
“Don’t be afraid of time or change - it’s constant-” Aka Belle sing in their 2021 release, “New Highs in Leadership;” clearly acknowledging and prophesying their own organic transformations as well as pushing their own boundaries.
Aka Belle are known for their DIY shows, mixing their quirky, glittery onstage performances, and catchy songwriting with haunting, passionate calls for love, resistance, equality for all, and reminders that we are all part of this beautiful Universe we all call home - they make you want to dance, hug, cry, sing along, and raise your arms to the sky.
They opened Treefort Music Festival #9 (September 2021), after the festival was postponed for two years due to the Covid 19 pandemic - the first sounds of the festival were Aka Belle triumphantly welcoming people in to the main stage area!
They have headlined Hyde Park Street Fair; shared the stage with both Portland’s Roselit Bone and Federale; Sera Cahoone, Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill); Eilen Jewell; Jesse Dayton; John Doe & Exene Cervenka (X); Holly Golightly, Lydia Loveless, Lindi Ortega, and collaborated with some big names in music including Iggy Pop, Doug Martsch (Built to Spill), and even Curtis Stigers.
“I caught a few minutes of Boise's aka Belle, whose darkly jazzy country, augmented by bursts of loud guitar, would fit in great at Pickathon." -- Matthew Singer, Arts & Culture Editor, Willamette Weekly
"...jazzy swing, raw guitar and sultry vocals have been a welcome part of the local scene. The release of a.k.a. Belle's new EP, I Hear It Now, which features guitar work by Brett Netson - should make for an exciting new chapter.”
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In June 2016, the band brought a 4 track EP into the world, "I Hear It Now," their 3rd release to date. "I Hear It Now" features guest guitarist Brett Netson (Caustic Resin, Built to Spill, Snakes) on "Crooked Path," an epic 7 minute song that has become one of the most exciting parts of their live shows. Michael Deeds of the Idaho Statesmen referred to it as having the "meteor shower power of an old school Built to Spill jam."
"I Hear It Now" made it into Boise's independent record store The Record Exchange's Top Sellers of 2016, in a year when mega releases such as David Bowie's "Blackstar," Sturgill Simpson's "A Sailors Guide to Earth," and Leonard Cohen's "You Want it Darker" dominated the charts.
In March of 2016, they released "Mustangs," a track from "I Hear It Now," as a digital download, with proceeds benefitting Wild Love Preserve, a 501(C)3 non profit whose mission is to rescue, protect and preserve Idaho's wild horses.
The band have previously released two albums - "Disappearing Night" (2012) was in the Top Ten Best Selling Local Albums at independent record store The Record Exchange, coming in a sweet #6; and "The Devil Loves You,' released in February 2014, entered the Top Ten Best Sellers at #3 and remained in the top twenty several weeks after it's release. Tracks from "The Devil Loves You" are particular favorites of local radio stations KRBX and KBSU ("Mess You Up," "HG Wells is Alive and Well," and "Collecting Songbirds" being the most played).
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