Our Story

a.k.a. Belle ride fiercely in a no mans land where intimate vocals sneak into bed with wild guitar serenades and wrestle with beats from a by gone era. 

The seedlings of a.k.a Belle began in a land far, far away called Los Angeles, CA, where Sam and Catherine Crooks Merrick, Boise, ID natives, found themselves sharing a flat in pursuit of musical greatness. They didn't know it then, but their paths would cross many times over subsequent decades and eventually their lives would converge in a very personal and musically magical way. In 2008, after Catherine returned home to Boise, ID from living and performing under the moniker of Belle of Les Bois in Manchester, England, she reunited with her former roomie (and soon to be husband).  a.k.a. Belle was born. 

Catherine grew up in Boise, ID amongst some major musical talents. She played alongside Doug Martsch (Built to Spill) in Suiciety and in the B-sides with Curtis Stigers. Merrick's overflowing with instrumental chops and is most often seen wailing on guitar or banjo, but it's her voice that audiences find most captivating:

"... when you are blessed with a vocalist like Catherine Merrick, you're light years ahead of the game. The singer and multi-instrumentalist for a.k.a. Belle has an alluring, lovely voice – the kind that stands out in any genre." - Michael Deeds, The Idaho Statesman

Between LA and 2008, Sam was met with major musical success. He toured the US and Europe with The Leaving Trains (SST Records) and signed a multimillion dollar contract in blood with LA band The Nymphs (Geffen Records). He's also played bad-ass guitar and lent vocals to a variety of of musical projects based in the US.

a.k.a. Belle's eclectic sound is elevated by the creative musical minds of Johnny "Bongos" Townsend (percussion) and Michael P. Waite (stand up bass), who hear and interpret Merrick's songs intuitively.  In 2013, Catherine's real life cousin, Mollie Long Williams, joined as a permanent backing singer and co-conspirator/accomplice.

This March of 2017, the band released a new track, "Remembering the Sound," which was recorded at Tonic Room Recording Studio in Boise, Idaho.  The song features guest appearances from Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer from The Posies. "Remembering the Sound" is available as a digital download - available here on this very website - or a download card can be purchased from The Record Exchange along with a sticker or limited edition screen print by Boise artist, Ameerah Bader (these will also be available at shows).

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). 

a.k.a. Belle is a rock band that's not afraid to play with different genres to get the desired effect in creating well-crafted, thoughtfully constructed songs. Collectively, these musicians have collaborated with and supported some big names in music including: John Doe & Exene Cervenka from LA band X; Iggy Pop; Sera Cahoone; Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (The Posies); Elizabeth Cook; Holly Golightly, Lydia Loveless; Curtis Stigers; Bill Kirchen; Doug Martsch and Brett Netson from Built to Spill, Lindi Ortega...and many more.

Please contact us for more information - we'd love to hear from you. Wander freely on our site, check out our tunes, join our mailing list.