Belle and the Band members Kathryn, Mike, Mickey, and Kevin have been performing together for about five years and playing together for so long and knowing each other so well that contributes to their style.
Kathryn Belle Long writes a lot of the songs, coming up with a basic melody and skeleton of the song and story, then the guys will take it, do arrangements and bring the song to life.
They like being able to focus on local places like Tallahassee.
Kathryn explains, “Well, I grew up here. And my mom grew up here. And my grandfather lived here. We currently live on the same little acreage that was in my family over a hundred years ago. When I turned 18, I wanted out of Tallahassee and I didn’t understand what a special, beautiful place it was. I was gone a long time. I went to college and then I went and worked at Disney and did a lot of things… and I came back. I realized what a beautiful and special place it was. Just the beauty, the hills and it’s right next to the beach, and the amazing community that lives here. That is what inspired me. Just my family, and my friends, and everything that I love is here.”
Belle and the Band also wrote the theme song for “Local Routes”, which also focuses on local things.
Band member Mickey Abraham says, “It gives us a really nice niche. We like the acoustic and the folk music. And I think that geographic folk music… we’re not the first people to do that, but it seems to have a really nice niche in this town for us to write songs about Tallahassee and do the (Local Routes) theme song.”
Writing the theme song was different from the band’s other songs, written with their own backgrounds and stories; they were given some specific ideas about the program and the fact that it wasn’t going to be limited to Tallahassee but would include the surrounding area as well – Thomasville, Apalachicola, the hills and the beaches.
Kathryn says, “It just came out. One Sunday afternoon, I just sat and wrote it. And it was there. I showed it to these guys (indicates her fellow bandmates), and the rest is history.”
Belle and the Band are working on their second CD in studio and are about halfway done recording as of this interview. Their first CD is called “Fallen Angel”, which can be purchased through their website. They also have a FaceBook page or you can look it up on YouTube or Spotify.
Suzanne Smith is Executive Producer for Television at WFSU Public Media. She oversees the production of local programs at WFSU, is host of WFSU Local Routes, and a regular content contributor.
Suzanne’s love for PBS began early with programs like Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and continues to this day. She earned a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri with minors in political science and history. She also received a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of Florida.
Suzanne spent many years working in commercial news as Producer and Executive Producer in cities throughout the country before coming to WFSU in 2003. She is a past chair of the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s Content Peer Learning Community and a member of Public Media Women in Leadership organization.
In her free time, Suzanne enjoys spending time with family, reading, watching television, and exploring our community.