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Wednesday, 22 August 2012 17:00

Belle Plaine in Maple Creek Aug. 31

Written by  Ryan Dahlman
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Melanie Hankewich (aka Belle Plaine) deadpans a mock critique at her latest album, Notes From a Waitress.
“I'm really happy with Notes From a Waitress: not a lot of food value, but it’s a nice collection of songs.”
Cue drum rim-shot.

It’s the attitude Belle Plaine has. Very easy-going, pretty methodical in regards to career and takes the music seriously, but not going to sweat the small stuff.
She has a wonderful, jazzy, blues kind of sound.
She will be at Ghostown Blues B&B Aug. 31. Ghostown is located one mile west of Maple Creek, on Highway 271 and is just over the bridge.
She likes what she sees there.
“I drove through it last September,” explained the singer. “It’s stunning and it’s incredible all of the things like the chuckwagons he has there ... it’ll be a treat to play there.”
Belle Plaine is in the midst of a tour which is is currently taking her through Alberta and Saskatchewan. Anyone who has heard her sing before and liked her music, will love what she has done with Notes From a Waitress.
Whether it’s the haunting story told in the exquisitely dark Vegas to the snappy, uptempo and coy Sweet Tart, Hankewich has her sound down pat. It’s effortless and has a range in which she can do both types of songs effectively. Dusky for the low key songs to jazzy numbers like To the Best of Our Memories or Old Love which are reminiscent of days gone by.
An intimate setting is definitely to her advantage so as to play where true music lovers can appreciate her songwriting and her voice. She knows it and is very aware of what the audience is feeling.
“We try to listen to the audience’s reaction,” said the singer. “If they listened and got a little joke in the song and they smile or laugh, you think, ‘ahh, they’re very sharp tonight’ when a song is over.”
One gets the sense that while she liked her first effort Hello from Belle Plaine, her sophomore effort is much more refined.
“The second album had different timelines and the expectations are higher,” explained the Saskatchewan songstress. “More focus and it was more planned ahead of time and it was not a reaction as (things went along).”
Having waitressed herself in Saskatchewan, B.C. and Australia, Hankewich said she was able to garner not only some ideas for her songs, but was able to weave the lingo into some of the  songs.
“There’s so much rich language you pick up,” she said.
Hankewich noted she doesn’t have a formula on how to write songs. It’s whatever experiences she has and whatever schedule she happens to have that will dictate her lyrics. She has ideas going all the time, some half finished.
Regardless, it’s working for her now that she has turned her attention to a full-time music career.
“I’m not entirely sure what song I’m going to write next,” she said. “There’s no tried and true method. It’s like anything, once you get an idea in your head, you just go with it.”
Tickets for the Aug. 31 Ghostown show in Maple Creek are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
Food provided by The Star Cafe & Grill. For more information or tickets phone 306-661-8481. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.

Read 2707 times Last modified on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 17:03