Ring My Belle: St. Paul de Vence

Folk music for old people.

Last summer I interviewed my grandma, to record all her stories ("I was married in a jail!") before it was too late. She talked a blue streak, in the thick Brooklyn accent I've learned to emulate perfectly, and she was the happiest and most animated I've ever seen her. "What's the next question?" she'd ask every time I tried to switch off the recorder. Old people love to be asked questions!

Sometimes asking old people questions leads to forming an amazing band. Case in point: Seattle/Bainbridge Island band St. Paul de Vence. Singer/songwriter Ben Doerr's grandpa was ready to share his boyhood war stories, and he wanted his grandson to write about them. Preferably a novel. Ben wrote an entire album instead—St. Paul de Vence's recent self-titled debut. With accordion and banjo, guitar and autoharp, Ben spun his grandpa's stories of World War II and the French occupation into rich, beautiful indie-folk music.

So what does dear old Grandpa think of the album? "It's probably refreshing that I'm not in a dread-headed reggae band or playing progressive metal." Oh, old people!

Rachel Belle contributes the "Ring My Belle" segment to 97.3 KIRO FM's Ron and Don Show.


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