Old Belle happened when a bunch of musicians who love to hang out decided that maybe we should write some songs instead of laying on the floor watching youtube videos and eating potato chips. Obviously we still do that too.
Though we all come from different musical backgrounds, we’re in Old Belle because we love playing traditional bluegrass and old time music, and writing new songs that pay homage to these old styles of music.
Our influences follow the development of roots music in America, from Lomax’s Bristol recordings, to bluegrass greats The Stanley Brothers, through to modern innovators like Bruce Molsky and Joy Kills Sorrow. With our music we use the familiar and traditional to tell new, modern stories, and hope to make something beautiful in the process. We love making music together, and love connecting and sharing our music with other people.
Tonya grew up making music with her dad, a folk guitar player and singer. She played clarinet and trombone in school, and began seriously writing music, playing guitar and singing in 2012. She is also passionate about nonprofits, and works as a grants administrator when not learning Johnson Mountain Boys songs.
Fun Fact: Can build a powerpoint deck that will make you cry. Considers “fun” an important criteria in food
Rob 'Ribz' Hansen
Fiddle, mandolin, vocals
At the age of four Rob was fascinated, while watching someone play the violin, to figure out “how it worked.” He brings the same curiosity and creativity to his playing today. A huge fan of fiddlers like Brittany Haas and Darol Anger, he is always looking for new ways to interpret old songs, and plays with deep expression. When not fiddling he can be found building things, or at least thinking about building things, as a civil engineer.
Fun Fact: Owns the orangest pants of all the band members
Vocals, guitar, mandolin
Our favorite sometimes member after relocating to Portland, Julay has played classical piano for as long as she can remember, and is also a masterful guitar and mandolin player, and singer. She’s played bluegrass for the past 15 years in acts including Julay Brooks and the Nightbirds, and currently teaches many instruments out of her music studio, JulayBrooks.com
Fun Fact: She’s already harmonized the note you didn’t even know you were about to play
Obsessed with music and singing from an early age, Niki found the courage to actually start playing and performing in 2012. Raised on classic rock and 90s country, with forays into punk and grunge, Niki was primed from an early age to appreciate a simple chord progression and a singalong chorus. When not making Julay explain the harmony stack in an Alan Jackson song she can be found writing, reading and thinking at a health nonprofit.
Fun Fact: Shortest tall person or possibly tallest short person in the band. Cannot stand the feel of couch upholstery
Mike has played bass for the better part of his life, with some journeys into Chinese zither playing and percussion as an Ethnomusicology Major at UCLA. He currently works in music business development, and hangs out with the cutest baby in the world, his son Ollie Gubman.
Fun Fact: Loves BBQing so much phone’s auto predict was the source of Rob “Ribz” Hansen’s nickname