12th Annual Live Performance Album Vox Pop Winner
11th Annual Adult Contemp. Song Vox Pop Winner
11th Annual Alt. Country Song Vox Pop Winner
11th Annual Story Song Vox Pop Winner
9th Annual Swag Winner
9th Annual Swag Vox Pop Winner
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Record Label: Ninth Street Opus
Home Base: San Francisco Bay Area
Genre: Americana Melange (aka – who knows?)
Categories Entered: Album entered in Americana and Folk Singer Songwriter; Songs entered in various categories
Album: Speeding Ticket and a Valentine
“Bird in Hand” (America, Folk and Story)
“Big, Big Bed” (Country and Alt. Country)
“Living Without You” (Pop)
“Pajaros Sin Alas” (World Beat)
“Back in the Saddle” (Story Song)
“Wide Open Spaces” (Adult Contemporary)
“Countdown” (Indie Alt-Rock)
Pam Delgado: Percussion, drums lead and background vocals, co-wrote “Back in the Saddle”
Renee Harcourt: Acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, lead and background vocals; songwriter on “Living Without You”, “Throw Me a Bone”, “Wide Open Spaces” co-wrote “Back in the Saddle”
Jeri Jones: Acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, slide, dobro and background vocals, co-wrote “Back in the Saddle”
Monica Pasqual: Piano, accordion, organ, and Wurlitzer, lead and background vocals; songwriter on Bird in Hand, Mona Lisa Smile, Pajaros Sin Alas, Countdown, Take Me There, co-wrote “Back in the Saddle”
Rob Strom: Bass
Guest artists: Julie Wolf: accordion and Hammond B3; Chris Kee: Acoustic Bass; BZ Lewis: Loops and effects
Label: Ninth Street Opus
Describe your nominated work. Blame Sally is comprised of 4 women, 3 of whom write and sing lead – so it’s always both challenging and rewarding to come up with a list of tracks that fully express our unique styles while still creating a cohesive sound. I think that by focusing on harmonies and classic instrumentation (bass, drums, keys and guitars) we manage to do both on this album.
“With multiple lead singers, writers and a rich plethora of sonic colors at their fingertips, Blame Sally can easily move in Americana, folk, country and rock circles.” Bam Magazine – December, 2011 by Mindy Giles
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? Vintage Wurlitzer; Hammond B-3; Reverse Guitar solo, some slowed down percussion sounds, distortions.
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? There are always happy accidents! A lot happens for us during the mixing, you hear things that you didn’t realize in the recording process, some good and some not so good, so a mix can take a totally different direction from what you originally had in mind.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses? We have signed with a wonderful independent record label in Berkeley that has a recording studio. Of course, we sell a lot of our older releases and play a lot of gigs, so that keeps the money coming in for new projects.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 11th IMAs? We’ve always like the artists who win the IMA’s – we felt like we had a great record that might have a good chance.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it? Doing what you love and loving what you do – and that’s harder than it sounds. Success seems like a moving target and that’s probably what keeps most artists going. You can’t ever rest on your laurels – there’s always another goal on the horizon.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals? It’s been impressive to notice how even being a finalist in the IMA’s makes people sort of sit up and take notice. We’re already talking about it in all our press releases and posting a out it on our website and facebook pages. I think we’ll also have some stickers printed up to put on our CD with the nominated songs.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique? I think our fans are classic “independent” fans. They have heard about our live shows and they are incredibly loyal. It’s definitely a word of mouth thing.
What’s your best/craziest tour story? We were invited to play at a venue once that ended up being in a cult compound. We knew we were in trouble when we went to the bathrooms that were marked “ascending sons” and “ascending daughters”. The opening act was a crop circle film.
Have you ever hung out with one of y our musical heroes? What’s the story? A couple of years ago we shared the bill with Joan Baez at Stern Grove in San Francisco. We sat on the edge of the stage while she did her set – it was surprising how thrilling it felt to be next to such an icon. We play lots of festivals so there are often quite a few artists on the bill that we love – Roseanne Cash, Richard Thompson, Ani di Franco, David Lindley, Lucinda Williams, the Waifs and Taj Mahal to name just a few. A couple of years ago we played with IMA winner Tim Easton, he hadn’t won yet so he was just another guy who we thought sounded awesome.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why? Hell yeah. Some because we’d be rich and some because of pure song-envy. Any of the Beatles songs would fall into both of those categories. Bob Dylan continues to write pretty amazing music, I’d take any one of his songs.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? As a band we all fell in love with a French-Canadian artist named Lhasa de Sela who unfortunately passed away last year – the sound of her first album was absolutely mesmerizing. One of the things that makes Blame Sally interesting is that we all come from really different musical backgrounds and we listen to really different music – from classical, to jazz, folk, R&B, rock, indie rock and world music.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming? Reading about them in magazines; hearing stuff on NPR, college radio, Pandora, etc. Some of us still like to buy physical CDs, some of us download from itunes. I think we are pretty conscious about buying stuff that we like as opposed to just streaming it.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free? I think fans are going to have to be educated in some way to know that songs are actually the result of somebody’s hard work and intellectual effort. If it was a dress somebody made, or a piece of art, or even a sandwich, nobody would expect to get it for free. For some reason people don’t really think of that when they download music for free. I have found that our audiences want us to succeed and are motivated to buy our work and come to our shows. At some point there will be a cohesive industry developed around monetizing songs again – I just hope that songwriters and performers figure out how not to be ripped off when that happens.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today? They don’t necessarily understand how demanding making a living from just touring is. I don’t think that they have any idea that you could have hundreds of thousands of downloads and still not make as much money as you would by actually selling a couple of thousand CDs. Finally, they don’t understand why a band they love isn’t famous yet.
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future? That may be the case – but I think it will be a real loss if music is released just as singles as opposed to collected works. Singles work for straight ahead pop music, but in general, I think artists like to make a statement with a collection of songs that work together as a whole, one song leading into the next.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…not very significant where Blame Sally’s career is concerned. We have done everything outside of the organized system, relying on word of mouth, the internet and extensive touring. For a long time the industry served as a sort of gatekeeper, deciding who was and was not worthy of having a career. They still exist to some extent in the world of Pop, but more and more, people are choosing who they want to listen to and how they get their music. Festivals have been an amazing thing for music, creating an accessible community between fans and artists.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year? We’re finishing up a live concert film produced with PBS that should be out in the 2nd half of the year. There will also be a DVD and live album to go with it. We’re doing a lot of touring, including two European tours as well as a lot of the US. We’ll probably start working on our next studio album, too. We’re like work horses, we just keep plugging away at this thing.