Isabelle "Bella" Vise is a simple lady. The 100-year-old from Torquay, England led an equally simple life -- well, simple for the time period in which came up.
IAMWE drummer Josh Carlson met Bella while volunteering at a hospice. The two quickly became unexpected friends, and Carlson told his bandmates about this incredible woman he met.
She lived through wars and personal strife, yet decades later, she's still resilient. After the band played her 100th birthday party, they knew she had a story to tell. Lead singer, lyricist and pianist Tim Maiden began to write poetry inspired by Bella's life, which eventually turned into lyrics for the first single from their debut full-length, "So They Say."
"For the first time I walked away from the piano, where usually the music starts," Maiden says. "I started writing a series of poems about and inspired by Bella's story. The song is a dialogue with herself and her own fears, her thoughts, and her body and soul. At this point in her life her first and second husband had already passed, so death was reality. Being a nurse, only God knows the number of soldiers and innocent lives she had seen pass, so not only was it reality, but it was much too close for comfort. Bella was going to either live in fear or face [it.] In 'So They Say,' she does so and makes peace with death."
At this time, Bella would have been 37. Perhaps she didn't know it then, but she still had much living to do.
The album, appropriately titled She's a Soldier, isn't due out until December, but the militaristic, pulse-pounding style on "So They Say" is a consistent theme from the disc.
"Every note, word, and sound was intentional on this song to look into her world and paint what we hope to be the most honest picture of Bella's life and world during the 1940s," Maiden says.
A heavy dose of Local Natives, Yeasayer and Wild Beasts find their way into the percussion-heavy track, but IAMWE, who opened for Neon Trees September 3, find their own, unique perspective that's far different than the Beirut-style worldly folk they were experimenting with prior to She's a Soldier.
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IAMWE followed local mainstays Peachcake at the Neon Trees gig. Their show landed them a few new Facebook fans, several of which remarked that they were the best band to play the show.
"So They Say" is available for free download on their website, www.iamweband.com, or you stream it below.