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Ontario’s Bella Cat at the Olive Oct. 26

by Craig Gilbert |

Touring in Western Canada behind a new mini-LP takes more than a mini-car.

Such is the latest adventure in soul for Ontario’s Bella Cat, who is on the road in this region for about a month and stops at the Olive Bistro in Jasper on Oct. 26.

“We just left Prince George and we’re heading to Vancouver,” she said on Tuesday. “We had some car trouble. We were going to head to Edmonton but that was a bit too drastic for the vehicle … Especially twice in the same year in a car that’s just a Kia. We definitely had to get our brakes changed.”

Bella is touring with a drummer and a baritone sax.

She did 28 concerts in 30 days in June across Canada and is on a similar bender now but with more Ontario dates, including Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Saskatoon, Revelstoke, Kelowna, Osoyoos and the aforementioned Prince George.

The mini-LP It’s Not What It Looks Like features vocalists who have backed up the likes of Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan, and a bonus track with James Brown drummer Clyde Stubblefield.

“He gave me a big hug and called me ‘the princess of soul’ in the studio,” she said.

Bella said she’s had good feedback since starting the tour on Oct. 3 and is coming off a recent sold out show in Osoyoos.

“I’ve been singing since I was 12,” she said. “My singing teacher introduced me to the blues and that’s how I started with that style. I was 16. I think it’s because of what I write, I write about personal experiences. A lot of that can come from the heart.”

She grew up in Chelsea, about 15 minutes from Ottawa. She said she used to draw a bit of an older crowd earlier in her career because she was focused on the blues, but draws more of a mix now that she’s added some soul.

“It’s a huge mix,” Bella said. “I get everybody. Anybody with a broken heart comes to my show, you know?”

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and there’s a $10 cover. Visit to learn more.

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