It seems to me that there is a lot of very good country around at the moment – the saccharine schmaltz and big Stetsons seems to have given way to musicians that have something more to say than “My dawg left me and ma hoss cheated on me with my boyfriend” that seemed to be the staples for years. At the same time there is room for music less gritty than Steve Earle or John Hiatt and Blame Sally are perfectly pitched into this world – this is Americana with real soul. This show was originally a benefit for Public Television which gets no subsidies in the US and the four ladies that make up Blame Sally – Pam Delgado (Drums and vocals), Renee Harcourt (Guitar, mandolin, banjo & vocals), Jeri Jones (guitar & vocals) and Monica Pasqual (keyboards, accordion & vocals) have a fully committed sound as befits the show. The vocals are shared between them all and that leads to some complex harmonies and vocal interplays but it also means that they share lead vocal duties so there is no feeling of sameness between the songs. I know that the average girl group also shares vocal duties but there is no comparison – these are four excellent musicians who sing rather than voices on strings. Their age tends to be a little older than many bands whose history goes back to 2000 but that means that they have real life experiences and that comes out in the songs and in the playing.
They play straight country as well as folk-tinged Americana and I particularly like the way they can mix all their influences on a track like ‘Her Name Is A Knife’ and then a number as intense and emotionally complex as ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ with chuffing electronica behind droplets of piano and gently plucked guitar – I admit that I’m a sucker for a deep and intense number but this is really fine.
‘Pajaros Sin Alas (Bird Without Wings)’ has a Spanish touch to it and aching lyrics sung beautifully but they can also rock it up some with numbers like ‘Countdown’ or get deeply Bluesy on ‘Hurricane’ opening with some superb resonator slide and developing into a real stompalong.
Definitely a band worth catching, unfortunately I missed their recent tour of the UK & Ireland but hopefully they will be back before long and on the basis of this well worth catching.
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