Belle Starr @ The Rivoli – Dec. 19, 2012


Miranda Mulholland, Stephanie Cadman & Kendel Carson

Belle Starr is an ensemble of three incredibly talented Canadian fiddler players, Miranda Mulholland, Stephanie Cadman and my friend Kendel Carson.  Formed at the end of 2011 at the suggestion of Ms. Mulholland, Belle Starr is managed by Starfish Entertainment who is responsible for an impressive stable of Canadian artists including Blue Rodeo, The Skydiggers, The Sadies, Oh Susanna and others.  Earlier this year Belle Starr released an EP entitled “The Burning of Atlanta” which contains five covers to which they add their own distinctive style.

Last week the girls took the stage at the fabled Rivoli in Toronto.  I have seen this band play several times previous.  Typically they are backed by a guitarist/keyboardist while Kendel handles most of the guitar work and Miranda & Stephanie stick to their fiddles.  On this particular evening however they were backed by a full band.  The added instrumentation (especially some electric guitars) only made them sound that much better, not that they need help.  The defining characteristics of this band is that they are each incredibly talented fiddlers and their vocals are simply amazing.  They can quite handily carry a show just the three of them but the full backing band was a real treat.

The evenings show covered the tunes from their EP, some new material from the upcoming album (summer 2013 I hear) and some other covers.  The highlight for me without question was their beautiful rendition of The Skydiggers’ “Pull Me Down”.  From beautiful ballads to fast up tempo numbers to original fiddle pieces there was plenty to keep everyone very entertained.  Check out the video of their Talking Heads cover below and be sure to check them out if you have the chance.  I am anxiously awaiting the full length album.