Blame Sally brings you everything from stompboxes to fiddles, as they weave their magic in a tapestry of musical delight. And don’t for a minute think of them as a folk band as they add a little bit of rock, and a whole lotta heart into each and every performance, blending the different genres into a melodic work of art.
Their live performances are more than just a musical journey, as they banter back and forth with each other in between songs as only true friends can do, making for a very entertaining evening.
Their most recent Sacramento appearance brought droves of fans from the San Francisco Bay Area to the KVIE studios in Sacramento to record an intimate concert that would later be used to raise money for public television. You can get more information regarding the CD/DVD at KVIE.com, as well as donate and receive free tickets to their upcoming show at Harlow’s where they will be releasing the KVIE CD/DVD to the public.
Winning top honors for “Big Big Red,” “Wide Open Spaces,” and “Bird in Hand,” as voted by fans in the Independent Music Awards, their popularity continues to soar as Blame Sally is quickly becoming a worldwide sensation. They are currently touring across the country and across the pond with upcoming stops in the UK and Ireland.
I’d be remorse if I didn’t mention that band member Monica Pasqual also won an Independent Music Award for Best Concept Album on This Cold Desire.
So who is Blame Sally?
Blame Sally is made up of four women, who decided to get together to play a little music in their spare time with no dreams of grandeur and no expectations, simply enjoying each other’s company while playing a little music.
Band members include Pam Delgado (percussions), Renee Harcourt (guitar/bass), Jeri Jones (guitar/bass) and Monica Pasqual (piano/accordion) – I know, not a Sally in the lot!
I had a chance to ask Monica some questions:
SacAndBeyond – You originally got together as a group to hang out and have some fun. At what point did you realize there was something special happening?
Monica – Monica – We realized we had something special the first time we got together. It was so fun and sounded so good – and that was the reason we really wanted to protect it and make sure that we were doing it for the right reason. We had all pursued “careers” in music and had gotten tired of trying so hard to make it. We loved playing together and we wanted to keep it that way, so we sort of dedicated ourselves to the idea of making great music and having fun together.
Sac- Do you have any regrets not pursuing your musical talents earlier in your careers?
Monica – We actually had all pursued music to varying degrees when we were younger. I started playing piano very young and thought I would have a career in classical piano. I was a professional dance accompanist and also composed for choreographers and then started writing songs and singing in my late 20s. I put out three solo albums before starting to play in Blame Sally. I was definitely pursuing music, so it’s been sweet to finally feel the payoff of lots of years of work!
Sac – Do you have any advice for the many musicians with day jobs?
Monica – I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice – but I can say this much: There are no guarantees, no matter what you do. I got a lot of advice from family and friends to focus on a more stable career and in some ways I’m sure they were right. Making money as a musician is not easy – and honestly, if the aim is to make money and get famous, it’s probably not the right career for you. But If you are truly passionate about music, it doesn’t really matter what advice you get from other people – you find a way to do it, whether you have to keep a day job or not. Most musicians and artists I know have hobbled together a life and career that includes “straight jobs” and their art – sometimes leaning towards one or the other full time.
Sac – Now that you are on the road so much, are you still able to take the time to just hang out and have a good time?
Monica – The truth is that sometimes when I get home from being on the road I just really need to be by myself for a while. But there is a point where that retreat becomes habitual and needs to be broken, connections with friends and loved ones have to happen again. It is incredibly important to check out completely from the band and the business of the band in order to be able to reconnect to it with energy and passion. At least that’s the way it works for me!
Sac – In an effort to show women across the country that they can make a difference, you recorded a DVD to help out public television and spread the word. What did that mean to you and do you believe it has helped get the message out.
Monica – For some reason it seems like almost everything we do as a band has ended up being a message – and we’re okay with that. I think that we represent the exception to a lot of rules that people accept but don’t really believe in. We are 4 women who have chosen to work together for a common goal, we nurture each other and we manage to work together really collaboratively. The fact that we are having our first real public success at our age is unusual – but it shouldn’t be. For some reason people think that performers (particularly female performers) are more relevant when they are extremely young – but like people in any other career, there are incredible gifts that come from experience and time. We tell a different story then a 20 year old would tell, and I think that we tell it in a fresh way that has nothing to do with “nostalgia”.
Regarding PBS – we believe that it will be a great opportunity to connect with more people who will resonate with that message. The program is just starting to be aired now, so it remains to be seen. We hope that it will be another mutually supportive relationship.
Sac – What is your most memorable moment on the road?
Monica – I’m having a hard time finding one – but I think we’ve all found it pretty incredible to be touring in Europe lately. We have had the chance to travel in a way that is totally unique – instead of seeing the world from a tourist’s perspective we have been totally welcomed inside the living rooms of new friends who are eager to share their lives and perspectives, and are super interested in us, too. It’s almost like being an ambassador – it’s one thing I never expected to experience.
Sac – As the recently announced winners of the Independent Music Awards for three separate categories, how does that feel and what does it mean to you as a band?
Monica – It’s great to be acknowledged for this. It’s interesting that we were chosen in three different categories that really represent some of the variety that we encompass. With three lead singers and writers in the band – we sometimes find it difficult to concisely categorize what we do. It’s particularly sweet that we won all categories we were finalists in (including two more for my solo work) in the popular voting part of this. It’s good to know we resonate with the people who actually go out and listen to music.
This was not your run of the mill fundraiser either. KVIE recorded the performance and will be using the footage to produce a PBS Special, which will ultimately be used in pledge drives across the country and be made available in DVD format.
So why choose Blame Sally for such an event? KVIE is using Blame Sally to show women of all ages, middle age in particular, that they can accomplish so much more. In their 30′s and 40′s they put their individual careers on hold to start Blame Sally. As a role model, Blame Sally proves that women in their 30′s and 40′s can get together and form, of all things, a rock band. Let me add ““ a successful and great sounding rock band.
Not only are they an inspiration to women around the world, but to anyone out there who’s thought about walking away from their career to pursue their bliss.
Blame Sally had a large contingent of diehard fans in attendance, with most traveling from the San Francisco Bay Area by car, train, and bus. Okay, not so sure if anyone took a bus, but I did talk to someone who took the train from Berkeley. It took her four cabs to finally find a driver who knew how to get to the KVIE studios.
This was my first Blame Sally concert, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had listened to some of their music prior to attending the show to see what I was in for, so I knew I was going to enjoy their sound, which I did ““ immensely.
What I didn’t expect was the relaxing back and forth banter amongst the group. They looked completely at home as no less than eight cameras were rolling, including a boom camera reaching out over the audience zooming in on unsuspecting band members and concert goers alike.
Blame Sally kicked it off with “Big Big Bed” off of their latest album “A Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.” Pam Delgado was on percussions, Renee Harcourt on guitar/bass, Jeri Jones on guitar/bass and Monica Pasqual on piano/accordion. All band members share in the responsibility of lead vocals and switch off as the song dictates.
I totally missed the fact that there was a man playing bass. Rob Strom who recently joined Blame Sally could be seen in the background. All I had to do was focus and look beyond all the stunning beauty at the front of the stage. Not to say Rob isn’t stunning, he is ““ at least when he’s playing with Blame Sally.
The only case of nerves I noticed? As the band was a few chords into their second song Pasqual shouts “Cut!” stating she started off with the wrong chords because she was just noticing all the cameras.
Pasqual didn’t leave it at that either. Just prior to “Orange,” she was all set to start with her accordion at the ready. Only problem was, the song called for keyboards. It was comical as the band members would exchange barbs back and forth during times like this.
They had plenty of time to exchange those barbs too. Why? In between songs Jones and Harcourt would tune their guitars. Ok, Harcourt would sometimes tune her guitar and then wait for Jones to finish tuning hers, but that was all good. During those times it was as if I was at a comedy club with the jokes going back and forth. Let me see, there were comments about someone’s new hairdo, wardrobe malfunctions, instrument malfunctions, and so much more. You’ll have to wait for the DVD.
For their last song Delgado led the audience through a chorus of do da’s and da doo’s or some such nonsense. Did I say nonsense? I don’t think so. The result was nothing short of amazing. She taught the audience their part and explained that everyone was to start as soon as she signaled. The audience started right on cue. As the song started to come to a close the instruments started to slowly die down with the audience still singing. It was a serious goose bump moment. The song? Again, you’re going to have to wait for the DVD!
If you’re in the Bay Area make sure you catch Blame Sally at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse on December 9th. They will be touring out of state during January and February, returning to California in March. Their complete schedule can be viewed at http://blamesally.com/shows/
Give them a listen ““ you’ll be glad you did, and if for some reason you don’t like them? Blame Sally, not me.
So I was approached by Todd Wagner from Ninth Street Opus to help publicize an upcoming event over at Public Television’s KVIE in Sacramento. You see Ninth Street Opus represents a San Francisco all-female group, Blame Sally, who’s scheduled to perform at the KVIE TV station on Saturday, December 3rd.
KVIE and Blame Sally are working together to create a pledge program to help raise money for Public Television on a national level. KVIE will be filming Blame Sally during their performance and using the footage to produce a PBS Special, which will ultimately be used in their pledge drives across the country.
I don’t think I need to go on about the value of Public Television and what it means for the community as a whole, but I do want to make sure that everyone understands who Blame Sally is and why they were chosen to perform at KVIE.
PBS wants to use Blame Sally as a role model for women everywhere. They are an example of healthy, authentic women, proud of their age and defying the odds by forming a successful rock band in their 40′s and 50′s. What they have accomplished is an inspiration to women across America.
Blame Sally is a little bit of country, a little bit of rock, a little bit of folk, and a whole lot of heart. They have been compared to the Indigo Girls, Dixie Chicks, and even Radiohead, but forget about all that, because one day some all-female band is going to come along and they will be compared to Blame Sally.
The band is made up of four young women ““ alright – Let’s say four not-so-young women. They bring a lifetime of love, happiness, disappointment, trials and tribulations and really just a whole lot of life to the table. It shows in their music, especially in their latest album A Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.
A few tracks that really stood out for me on their new album – “Living Without You,” a hard-rocking song about a woman uncertain whether to be devastated or exhilarated by a relationships end. “Countdown,” with its driving beat and then “Big Big Bed,” which you gotta love simply because of the washboard paying in the background.
So who are these women of wisdom and why do they work together so well?
Pam Delgado (percussion and vocals) ““ Wishes she still owned the family car from when she was just a kid. It was a Lavender Pontiac Bonneville complete with a Clamshell from Sears.
Renee Harcourt (guitar, bass and vocals) ““ She’s really the talented one out of the four, but don’t tell the others that. She can juggle, ride a unicycle and whistle loudly with or without fingers, but not all at the same time and hopefully not onstage.
Jeri Jones (guitar, bass and vocals) ““ I tried to call Jeri but never did get through. All I heard on the other end of the phone was “who the *&$@%# is calling me before I’ve had my morning coffee!” I did hear she’s prone to pre-coffee accidents. Luckily all their performances are late in the day.
Monica Pasqual (piano, accordion and vocals) ““ She’s started a billion songs and never finished them. Something about being superstitious when it comes to songwriting. She has to have at least two good verses and chorus before she can walk away, otherwise it’s a lost cause. All the other songs she’s completed? One word ““ perfection.
Together these women make up Blame Sally. Granted an odd bunch and not a Sally in the lot, but it doesn’t matter as long as they keep pumping out some really awesome tunes.
Get out there and show your support for Public Television and Blame Sally.
KVIE TV Station
2030 W. El Camino Ave Sacramento, CA 95833
Saturday, December 3
7:00-8:30 pm “¦. AND”¦. 9:00-10:30 pm
Regular Admission: Per Show: $25 / Both Shows: $45 150 seats available
VIP Seating: Per Show: $100. Only 50 VIP seats available!