Blake Berglund and Belle Plaineo perform on Monday

Country duo has roots on display

Bringing in the crops and songwriting go hand-in-hand for Saskatchewan country-roots singer Blake Berglund. Nothing sparks his creativity like spending countless hours circling his family’s farm fields on his John Deere harvester.

Bringing in the crops and songwriting go hand-in-hand for Saskatchewan country-roots singer Blake Berglund.

Nothing sparks his creativity like spending countless hours circling his family’s farm fields on his John Deere harvester.

“It’s absolutely my preferred place to write. It’s totally zen,” said Berglund, who performs with his on-

and off-stage partner Belle Plaine on Monday, Sept. 7, at Fratters Speakeasy in Red Deer.

The Regina resident, who makes traditional country music in the style of Kris Kristofferson or Willie Nelson, comes from a long line of farmers, cowboys and showmen.

Berglund’s grandfather, who would have turned 115 last month, was Kennedy, Sask.’s self-appointed storyteller, haphazard pianist and self-taught veterinarian.

“He had not a day of schooling, but he was the local vet. He just jumped and did it,” said Berglund, with a chuckle.

Berglund’s father carried on the jack-of-all-trades family tradition, dabbling in everything from crop and cattle farming, to running an auction mart, to collecting estrogen from horse urine.

With a brother who’s a professional calf-roper, Berglund figures “I have that cowboy gene” — and it turns up in his music.

Songs on his three solo CDs are often about different characters he meets.

“It becomes boring to write about yourself, about what I feel and what I think about things … I find it more engaging to write in the narrative style about others…”

On this Western Canada tour, Berglund will share the stage with his sweetheart, Belle Plaine, a Fosston Sask. native. Both artists intend to do their own solo sets with side players, then come together for a few duets.

Plaine (who borrowed the name of a Saskatchewan farming community as her stage moniker) has such a beautiful, clear, distinctive voice that Berglund was captivated from when he first heard her sing.

He spent several years trying to talk her into becoming his duet partner. Finally Plaine, who made two poetic solo albums, capitulated when she realized they share the same approach to country music.

She admitted they both prefer “authentic” traditional country to the pop-y new country music heard on the radio.

Berglund puts it across stronger: “I loath what’s happened to country music right now!”

Where traditional country was about life’s struggles, new country seems to be mostly about beer and drinking, he added. “It’s very poor choice of subject matter for a role model … It’s very disappointing to me.”

Given the current state of country radio, he and Plaine decided to draw on the past for inspiration for their latest recording project.

The duo are paying old-fashioned tribute to their fellow songwriters by recording their material — starting with a gold-coloured 7-inch vinyl, out on Sept. 4, with the tunes Town to Town and Saskatchewan, written by Saskatoon folk artist/songwriter Zachary Lucky.

There’s even an appropriate throw-back sensibility in their duet performance of Town to Town, as seen on YouTube, as part of An Empty Room Series of recordings made by retired CBC employee Brent Nielsen.

The video brings to mind Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty, Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, or even Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

She and Berglund greatly admire country artists of the bygone era. But there’s also something distinctive and special that happens when they sing together.

“I think there’s a real chemistry between us,” said Plaine. “The visual interplay keeps things interesting.”

As to whether she plans to make a full-length recording with Berglund someday, she added, “We’re going to ride this out for a while and see where it goes…”

There’s a $10 cover for the 8 p.m. show. For more information, please call 403-356-0033.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Everything from coffee makers to coats in latest Canada Games sale

Sale runs 1 to 7 p.m. at Games office at Bower Place mall

Town of Sylvan Lake has big ideas for lakeshore

Day mooring docks wanted but first water licence needed from province

Red Deer business moves away from overdose prevention site

At least one Red Deer business has moved away from the temporary… Continue reading

Canada Revenue Agency tax services back online after ‘hardware’ problems

OTTAWA — The websites Canadians use to file their taxes online were… Continue reading

Roof structures failed before Radiohead stage came down, inquest hears

TORONTO — Metal structures meant to hold a roof over a stage… Continue reading

Opinion: Business tax relief is a sound idea

NDP leader should avoid picking winners and losers

Svechnikov scores in overtime, Carolina beats Montreal 2-1

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Carolina Hurricanes struggled to beat Montreal goaltender Carey… Continue reading

Canadian men’s soccer squad off to Gold Cup with 4-1 win over French Guiana

VANCOUER, B.C. — Canada’s men’s soccer team is looking to the future… Continue reading

Inquest into fatal Radiohead stage collapse set to get underway in Toronto

TORONTO — An inquest is set to get underway today into the… Continue reading

The Latest: Streisand apologizes for Jackson comments

NEW YORK — The Latest on Barbra Streisand’s comments about the sexual… Continue reading

Pricey Titanic wreck tours hope to bring new life to a century-old story

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Adventure tourists with money in the bank have… Continue reading

Most Read