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.
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:
Randy – 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.
Randy- 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!
Randy – 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.
Randy – 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!
Randy – 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.
Randy – 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.
Randy – 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.
Randy is an occasional writer/photographer for SacramentoPress and regularly blogs at SacAndBeyond.com