Notes on Paper
"Thanks to her strong, sharp singing voice, polished musicianship and a gift for writing memorable melodies, word is spreading about Belanus and her songs." - Sam McDonald. Music Reporter, The Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia. 'Williamsburg songwriter Nicole Belanus says her debut CD 'Notes on Paper,' being released today, reflects her many moods and modes. 'I think it shows a lot of my tastes,' said Belanus, 'and the themes on the record are the ones that I always come back to.' A glance at song titles suggests those themes are pretty dark. Titles include 'Waging War' and 'Demons.' But Belanus insists her debut isn't a bummer. 'It sounds heavy, but it's really not,' Belanus said, laughing. 'The disc is kind of an eclectic blend. Some are acoustic guitar and vocal and others have full band backing with drums and bass. One is bluegrass or country in tone. I'm hoping there will be something for everyone.' Belanus celebrates the CD release 7-9 tonight at Montgomery Grill in Olde Towne Portsmouth. Admission is free. At the Montgomery Grill, she'll perform many of the songs from the new disc, which was recorded in Chesapeake with help from friends William and Loretta Ricketts. 'For the CD, I wasn't looking to record my top 10 songs,' Belanus said. 'I was looking for songs that would sound good together and would be fun to work on as an ensemble. I wanted to choose songs that would work collectively.' One of them is 'Other Side,' which, in April, helped Belanus take the top prize at the Sea Level Singer-Songwriter Festival's emerging talent competition. Another tune, 'These Wounds' had been getting good responses at gigs, the singer said. Again, it's not as heavy as the title would suggest. 'It's really a song of hope, as opposed to a sad song,' Belanus said. 'It was written around a couple sad events in my life personally ... But the driving line in the chorus is 'These wounds will heal.' When these things happen to us, maybe they're stepping stones to what's next in our lives.' With a sparkling new 10-track collection of original tunes and a prize under her belt, the 32-year-old musician is starting to think about playing regionally as well as locally. 'I'm hoping to visit Washington, D.C., and Raleigh, maybe do a regional tour in the spring,' she said. 'But until then I'll be playing local places.' She's also thinking about making a second CD, a purely acoustic recording of only her and her guitar.' - Sam McDonald. Music Reporter, The Daily Press, Newport News, Virginia.