Tag Archives: Tom Waits

My Weekend with Sasquatch: Talking with Sallie Ford

-Mike Munoz

When I first heard Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, I had a hard time believing that their music wasn’t recorded in the 50’s. But in the last year, their retro-rock sound and Ford’s unique vocals has had music critics raving and  earned them a slot at Sasquatch. After performing Monday afternoon, Sallie Ford sat down and talked to us about her relationship with The Avett Brothers and touring in Europe!

How did Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside get started?

Sallie Ford: Well I moved to Portland in 2006 and I met Tyler [Tornfelt] and Ford [Tennis] and I just started playing music with them. Then we met Jeff [Munger] who was doing a lot of street performing. I was lucky enough to meet the Avett Brothers and they invited us to do some shows and kind of kicked us off, and we’ve just gone on from there.

Are The Avett Brothers an influence on your music?

SF: I think they’re really awesome people and as far as an influence on us, they’ve given us advice on how to take becoming a serious touring band and they gave me some early advice on how to build a team and being patient about your career and taking a hot air balloon to success instead of the spaceship. That was always really great to hear.

How has it been adjusting to bigger tours and bigger venues?

SF: It doesn’t feel like we’ve done that much more, but it really exciting that we’ve gotten to go to Europe. I didn’t really know what to expect or if we were going to be playing to nobody. But then it ended up being great and we had a lot of press in Europe and we had a lot of people at our shows even though we had never played there. As far as the US, we’ll still have shows where there’s only 10 people. Then all of a sudden we’re here, playing with Jack White.

How has the Sasquatch experience been so far?

SF: Awesome! I mean all festivals can be a bit much if you have to spend the whole time there. We’ve done Bonnaroo before and we had to kind of take off early. But I think I can handle this more than Bonnaroo. I think this has to be one of the best.

So in previous interviews you’ve mentioned artists like Tom Waits as an influence. Who are some female artists that have influenced your music?

SF: There are so many. I guess the biggest would be Cat Power, Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple. Also, recently I’ve gotten into PJ Harvey. I think there is so much music from the past as well such as Etta James, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday.

In your song, “I Swear” you have some harsh words for the current state of music. Were there any artists you had in mind when you wrote that?

SF: Not really. I just think any music where the people are just doing it for money or when music is all digital, that’s disappointing. But I think that song is about being honest in the way of cussing in my lyrics and talking about inappropriate things and not being scared to be controversial. I mean, in the past there are already a lot of people who have covered that ground, but I think as an artists I definitely wouldn’t want to play it safe.

What does the future hold for Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside?

SF: We already recorded an album, and that should be coming out in the late Fall. Hopefully people can keep their ears open for that! In the Fall we’ll be doing a tour for our record release, but we haven’t even planned that yet.

Buster Blue makes pit stop at Sam Bond's Garage

-Mike Munoz

As the rain comes down on a cold night in the Whitaker, the small stage at Sam Bond’s Garage is littered with a variety of instruments. After grabbing a beer, I head to my seat and try to figure out how a five man band can make use of so many instruments. Right off the bat, I can see two bass guitars, one acoustic guitar, a banjo, a baritone saxophone, a tenor saxophone, an accordion, and an unusual drum kit equipped with buckets. Little did I know that this was only about half of the instruments that are used in a Buster Blue concert.

On Wednesday night, the Reno based folk band made their second appearance in Eugene, and were well received by the crowd at Sam Bond’s Garage. The first thing that stands out about Buster Blue is that each member plays multiple instruments throughout the show. The band consists of Bryan Jones (lead vocals, banjo, tenor sax), Andrew Martin (lead vocals, guitar, trombone), Brendan Lund (bass, chains), Rachel McElhiney (baritone sax, backing vocals, clarinet) and Jay Escamillo (drums, harmonica).

The band got started four years ago when Jones and Escamillo started playing local shows at coffee shops. The two started small, and used pots, pans and whatever else they could find to make noise. Since then, the band has seen a few personnel changes over the years; however, they still stay true to their roots by keeping items like buckets and chains in their arsenal of instruments. “I’m a huge Tom Waits fan,” explains Martin. “And he’s kind of the master of unusual instrumentation.”

The band travels from city to city in their very own twelve person van equipped with an eight by six trailer, which limits their touring to cities on the west coast. “On the west coast it’s hard because everything is so spread out,” explains Martin. Despite the long, sometimes grueling drives from city to city, Buster Blue hasn’t lost a beat. “To keep having the opportunity to play music every night is worth all of the traveling,” says Lund.

Buster Blue got their show started with “Ain’t No Heaven on the Country Road,” a foot stomping, chain dropping melody in which Jones screams the lyrics through a megaphone while the rest of the band bangs on cowbells, drums and buckets. From there, the band didn’t slow down and played an hour-long set that included songs from both of their albums. Each song was followed by a short break as band members took the time to switch instruments for the next song. Throughout the concert, I counted a total of 16 instruments being used, and I’m sure there are a few that I missed or left out.

Overall, Buster Blue is a breath of fresh air, and proves to be a fun and unique concert experience for music lovers of all kinds. The band is planning on releasing another album sometime in January and continues to grow as artists. “We kind of know what we’re doing now,” says Martin with a grin. “It just keeps getting easier and easier.” At the end of the night, the band packed up their van and prepared to hit the road and continue their fall tour. Hopefully, they will make Eugene a regular stop on their future tours, and hopefully they don’t forget any of their instruments.

Photo taken from BusterBlue.com