Though it may sound like heresy to some true believers, there was actually enjoyable stringboard music prior to the development of bluegrass with Bill Monroe in the late 1940s. A good many talented artists performed with banjos and fiddles between the tin pan alley era of vaudeville and the arrival of Flatt & Scruggs in Nashville, and much of what they did influenced what followed their time in the limelight.
It has been the mission of Bill and The Belles to focus on the sound of that interregnum period with joy and lighthearted humor, as many of you have witnessed during their reign as hosts of Farm and Fun Time, recently resurrected on Radio Bristol and recorded at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, VA.
The band is the brainchild of Kris Truelsen, lead singer and primary songwriter, who chose the name as a tribute to Bill and Belle Reed, who sang together in the 1920s from their home in Johnson City, TN. His goal is to capture that sort of plaintive singing that was popular in the light entertainment offered in theater revues of their time, accompanied by an acoustic string trio.
They have an album, their first, set for release this year called Dreamsongs, Etc., consisting of Truelsen’s songs supported by Kalia Yeagle on fiddle and vocals, Grace Van’t Hof on banjo and vocals, and Karl Zerfas on bass. Pre-orders can be placed now online, and include an immediate download of the record’s first single, Wedding Bell Chimes, featured in the video below.
Look for Dreamsongs, Etc towards the end of the summer on Jalopy Records.