Must See — Sallie Ford And The Sound Outside At Columbus

Sallie Ford/Untamed Beast (11.5) The last time the decidedly not folk-sounding, totally slamming, rockabilly Portland band Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside cruised through Rhode Island they were playing the 2011 Newport Folk Festival, and dealing with a power outage. Unrattled, the band cadged some instruments and performed an acoustic set. In a recent email interview with the band, guitarist Jeffrey Munger shared his memory of executing a Reverse-Dylan.

JM: Before we played Newport I was talking to my dad, and somehow it came up how it would be funny if we went acoustic, like how Bob Dylan went electric at Newport. I totally forgot about that conversation until the power did indeed go out during our show there. So we borrowed some acoustic guitars from some very nice strangers and got through the set, thankfully Sallie can sing louder than most people.

No argument there. Still, let’s hope the good people over at the Columbus Theatre pay their bill and double-check the wiring because these guys can really kick ass with a little juice.

The band came together in about 2007 in Portland with Alaskan transplant Tyler Tornfelt on upright bass, Ford Tennis on drums, guitarist Munger, and charismatic frontwoman Sallie Ford who is on record with this manifesto, “It’s time for a girl to infiltrate the boys world of rock ‘n’ roll and grab it by the balls. To me rock n roll isn’t a genre, it’s an energy.”

Ford hails from Asheville, North Carolina, where her father was a musician and a puppeteer of some note, and her mother a musical renaissance woman. (Cont’d after the jump.)

SF: She still is a music teacher. She teaches marimba, singing and the history of music. She also is a songwriter and plays many instruments, like drums, guitar, banjo, piano and is a great singer. I started with violin. I also played some classical guitar. . .  When I came to Portland I was self-taught but over the years I’ve had a few lessons. Jeff (my guitarist) has been the best teacher by just showing me little things and setting an example.

Ms. Ford comes across as an exuberantly sexy, good-time gal who figured out long ago it’s much more fun hangin’ with the bad boys.  I’ll bet she’s a handful and well worth the trouble.

Jeff was asked about the effects-heavy guitars (surfer grooves on “They Told Me” just kill me) on their 2013 album “Untamed Beast” and to elaborate on his current set-up.

JM: I do like guitar effects, they’re really fun, and that’s what playing electric guitar is all about. At least for me, I guess. When we play live I use 2 guitars, one’s a Gibson SG (with a very special buffalo sticker), and the other is a guitar that I put together from some random parts I had laying around. Those go through a few of the cheapest guitar pedals I could find, into a reverb tank (always turned high, I make a lot of mistakes I’ve gotta cover up), and then into a 15 watt orange amplifier. And I only play with yellow picks.

I knew it! Yellow picks. That’s the secret.

More of interview after the jump. Recommended listening: “Rockability,” “Bad Boys,” and “Devil,” and all the other songs too. (Photo credit Liz Devine. Left to right Tennis, Tornfelt, Munger. Front, Sallie Ford.)

$12 day of, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, with Mount Moriah, doors 7pm, music 8pm, Tuesday, November 5th, Columbus Theatre upstairs, 270 Broadway

PDD: I always wonder whether being on television for the first time, like your appearance on ‘The David Letterman Show,’ is still a watershed moment in a band’s life because, for one thing, your grandparents etc. might view that as having made it — was it a big deal? Is Paul Shaffer nice? I want him to be nice.
SF: Sure it was a great moment. Its great that they want to put upcoming artists on the show. In general “independent” music is starting to be embraced by the mainstream which I think is cool. I don’t think we’ve “made it” but I am proud to say this is my job. Paul Shafer was very nice.

PDD: Do you still do Buddy Holly or Dolly Parton covers when performing or was that before you had enough songs of your own?
SF: Its always fun to throw a cover song into a set. Recently we have been doing “Whole Wide World” by Wreckless Eric and “Heart of Glass” by Blondie.

PPD: You played a show last year with Wanda Jackson, did she respond to your music in any way? Had she been on your radar growing up? Was she nice? I want her to be nice too.
SF: I think she appreciated our music. I definitely think she thought we were kiddos. She was nice and her husband was very nice and chatty. It was a fun experience. I had not heard of her music until someone said I sounded like her after we released “Dirty Radio.”

I think she’s heard of you now young lady.

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Official video of “I Swear” from the 2011 album “Dirty Radio.”

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