You can't make this stuff up: In the 1980s, A.K.A. Belle lead singer Catherine Merrick played in bands with Doug Martsch and Curtis Stigers in the 1980s. She lived in Manchester, England, for several years, performing as Belle of Les Bois. BBC called her music "genuinely beautiful." Lead guitarist Sam Merrick played with Los Angeles-based hard rock band The Nymphs, which signed to Geffen Records in 1989. After the group broke up, his bandmates went on to perform with artists like Jeff Buckley and Iggy Pop.
Despite the different paths their lives took, the two Idaho natives both returned to Boise. They married and formed a.k.a. Belle, and the couple's country tunes, jazzy swing, raw guitar and sultry vocals have been a welcome part of the local scene. The release of a.k.a. Belle's new EP, I Hear It Now—which features guitar work by Brett Netson—should make for an exciting new chapter.