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a.k.a. Belle / Press

"... combines folk-country melodies with raw, Neil Young-esque guitar and swinging, jazzy rhythms--celebrated the release of Devil during a double CD release show Feb. 22 with local roots group The Country Club, which released An Idaho Dozen. The show, hosted by Bill Coffey, featured performances by a.k.a. Belle, The Country Club, Stigers, Hillfolk Noir's Ali Ward and burlesque troupe The Red Light Variety Show. "Catherine Merrick--she'll always be Cathe to me--has been one of my favorite singers since we met back in high school in the early '80s. ... What a voice," Stigers wrote in an email. "I'm a big fan of her co-conspirator and hubby, Sam Merrick, as well. Sam's one of the most inventive and original guitarists around, and he's a ton of fun to watch onstage as well." Though Sam and Catherine would eventually connect both romantically and musically, it didn't happen right away. Around 1985, Sam and a friend were living in Los Angeles, and Catherine decided to join th

“I never get tired of seeing a.k.a. Belle...(they) set a record with this performance (as far as I can recall): they didn't even play one song before they started bantering with each other. It all began with Catherine Merrick warning Sam Merrick not to cuss, since they were being broadcast live on Radio Boise. Sam Merrick proceeded to tell the audience a little story that led up to the show, bleeping out the curse words with a few guitar chords. It went on pretty much like that for the rest of the set. I hope that the folks out in radioland found this as amusing as I did. Too bad that they couldn't see Catherine Merrick's classic I'm-gonna-kill-this-f*cking-idiot glare (I see it a lot when I'm hanging out with married/dating people). Oh, and I should probably mention that the music sounded great too. While their older songs sounded as gorgeous and rowdy as ever, their newer material makes me look forward to their second album, which they're apparently working on now.”

“The Hand, a.k.a. Belle, Holograms and Meth House Party Band @ the Red Room (5/1/12) A $1 cover charge, 2 for 1 drink specials, three Idaho bands that I hadn't seen before and one of my favorite local bands? How could I not go see this? a.k.a. Belle: The band was clearly in a good mood as they sipped whiskey and traded banter between flawlessly performed songs. Their casually confident set went a long way toward confirming two suspicions that I've held for a while: 1) that this is one of the best bands in town and 2) that Catherine Merrick is the greatest singer in town.”

“I'm tempted to call Sam and Catherine Merrick Idaho's answer to Richard and Linda Thompson, but I don't want to jinx their marriage. Besides, the analogy doesn't quite work. Sure, a.k.a. Belle's lead instruments are Sam Merrick's tactfully raw guitar and Catherine Merrick's lovely voice. They probably wouldn't sound quite as good, though, without the support of Mike Rundle's drums, Chris Galli's stand-up bass and Kayleigh Jack's fiddle and harmonies. Also, as songwriters, the Merricks sound friendlier and more well-adjusted than Richard Thompson does typically (granted, it doesn't take much to pull that off, but let me go on). Songs like the goofy "At Least I'm Stupid," the straight-shooting "For A Fool" and the go-to live-show closer "Painted, Faded & Tainted" make me think of a much warmer and homier duo: John Prine and Iris DeMent. Toss in some old-school honky tonk and some Neil Young for good measure, and you've got a band that I'm almost genetically predisposed to love.”

“Whether they like it or not, most bands are defined by their singers. So when you’re 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 nearly any genre. Fans of country-tinged, alt-rock crossover music (think Neko Case or Jenny Lewis) will appreciate her most. Merrick lived and performed in England before returning to Boise and forming this group in 2008. While a.k.a. Belle benefits from the life and recording experience of Merrick and her husband, guitarist Sam Merrick, this album also feels inspired and fresh. Several guest musicians help Americana songs swell into layered, big-sounding rock listens. But Merrick’s convincing, confessional lyrics always keep everything personal. Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/02/29/mdeeds/local_cd_review_aka_belle_disappearing_night#storylink=cpy”

“From the Boise music scene comes one of my favorite albums of late last year. a.k.a. Belle is led by Catherine and Sam Merrick and although it will likely be tagged Alt Country, there is much more happening here. Hints of 60's pop and a definite feel of 50's rockabilly also reside beneath the surface. Catherine has a fantastic voice and I'm reminded of Neko Case, or even Wanda Jackson. Sam is a veteran of LA punk bands Leaving Trains and the Nymphs but here has found his influence in American Roots Music. This debut album is a real treat and deserves some attention. I recommend the second track, "Austin Calling," for an introduction. Good stuff from a vital and thriving local music scene.”

“Boise has a growing music scene. Most people know Built to Spill and latest up-comer Youth Lagoon. But there are plenty of other great bands in town and many of them will be featured at SXSW. Today we are letting you know about a great album from one of these Boise bands: aka belle. Disappearing Night is a great album for those that dig an indie folk-rock type feel. With excellent female vocals and lyrical stylings, I’ve been listening the heck out of this album since buying it at the tail end of last year. The band has a good time with their music and doesn’t take themselves too seriously. we submit “(i’m) give mice elf to you” as evidence. Go buy this album and enjoy it.”

“LIVE REVIEW (FROM SOLO SHOW IN MANCHESTER, UK): "...these songs subtly insinuate themselves into your spine, causing unannounced shockwaves of sparks and shivers beyond the end of the set, with the malicious hint of Crazy Horse's rusty rail-track wanderings and ethereal yet earthy moaning midnight laments of The Carter Family..." ”

Stu Gibson - Maverick Magazine, issue 65

"...(a.k.a. Belle's) music is genuinely beautiful. Drenched in drama and harmonies, it is the sound of the broken-hearted finding their voice and rising up again. Adorned simply and succinctly, it is music that breathes with life and passion and has the power to convert even the most staunch unbeliever to the truth of country-fuelled music." --Chris Long, BBCManchester Online

Chris Long - BBC Manchester Online

“'A.k.a Belle (Of Les Bois) And The Semi Precious Gents shifted styles with their curious blend of 21st century americana drenched in nostalgia. A sense of professionalism oozed from the assorted onstage rebels but really hit you the most was the amount of heart and soul you gained.' ”

“'a.k.a. Belle (of Les Bois)...matchless chanteuse of dark country byways and creaking swing-bridges of the soul...' ”

Medicine Bow's Stu Gibson - The Medicine Bow band website

“LIVE REVIEW (FROM SHOW WITH UK BACKING BAND) "...it's mainly Catherine ...who fronts this unit. Tonight the band are the people she has roped in after only just getting back from Idaho. She has Elena (vocals) plus Stu and a few others from the Medicine Bow and that’s more than ample to overcome a missing drummer. Catherine apologies in her soft, North American accent for possibly being jet lagged, but if she is, it doesn’t show. Her silky smooth voice immediately grabs the attention. It can cross from a seductive tone to threatening one in the space of an octave. When she delivers the line “I can drink you under the table” it’s put in such a manner there’s no point in trying to take her on. Ally the voice to the strident guitars, plus Elena’s vocal support and it’s a fine set. When someone opens with the line “ I may not be the smartest girl you ever met”, I reckon they probably are.'' ”

Ged Camera - BBC Manchester Online

"Half English, half American, a.k.a. Belle (formerly Belle of Les Bois) is inspired by the two nations musical histories, with the echoing ambition of open spaces reverberating through her songs. " --Switchflicker Records

Jayne Compton - Switchflicker Records Press kit