As a kid growing up on the Swinomish Reservation, just outside Anacortes, Washington, Katherine Paul would sit on her dad's lap during drum circles. Later, she began dancing at powwows, while also studying piano and flute. And then, in middle school, she discovered riot grrrl and grunge music.
In other words, it was a musically rich—and sonically diverse—childhood. Even more remarkable? In her solo project, which she calls Black Belt Eagle Scout, Paul braids all those strands together, to aching and atmospheric effect. She draws on the rhythmic pulse of tribal drumming, entrancing the listener before breaking into a ferocious guitar solo. Breathy vocals, meanwhile, move from stories of heartbreak to environmental admonitions.
You might have come across Paul's debut album, Mother of My Children, when it was released by local label Good Cheer Records in 2017. But now she's set for a national breakout, with that album being reissued on September 14 by Saddle Creek, a stalwart Omaha, Nebraska, label that's also represented such acts as Big Thief, Bright Eyes, and recently disbanded Portland trio the Thermals.
Want to see her live? (Yes, you do.) You'll have to wait a couple months: Paul doesn't have a hometown date till November 16, when she opens for Tacocat at Polaris Hall. Get tickets here.