Friday, May 7, 2010

sallie ford preserves the sound outside

Who is Sallie Burgess Ford? Close your eyes and listen.

You might hear Ella and Etta. Robust and emotive. Billie and Dinah. Laden with road weariness, demanding and bewitching.

“I always liked belting,” announces Sallie Ford smiling a toothy grin.

Open your eyes and you see a petite package sent to Portland from Asheville wearing cat-eye glasses, adorned with silver flares and masking tape.

Shuffling to refill her coffee-stained paper cup, she spills her change across the counter trying to do three things at once. The barista chuckles and demands that she keep her coins.

Chortling back, Sallie insists that her pile of silver is a tip.

How do these two personas coexist within the same small frame?

“When you first start singing, you have a lot of decision in the way your voice sounds,” says the girl who was once christened Down South Sallie.

Now backed by her three boys, it’s Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside, and “It’s an outlet to be someone other than my actual personality.”

Sallie is still Sallie. She’ll always be Sallie. But on stage, her voice is her alternate persona. Emotion-wrought vocals cut and captivate, but only in three-minute spurts–between songs she’s back to Sallie, endearingly goofy, giggling and embarrassing her band with gushing confessions and blurted banter.

And embracing her like older brothers, Tennis, Tornfelt, and Munger can’t help but laugh along as the band grows up together–sometimes at their own pace but at other times very quickly, like last year when they played two sold-out gigs at the Crystal opening for The Avett Brothers...

Hear Sallie's pipes while reading the rest on OMN.

1 comment:

lindsay said...

nice. I live in Portland, and somehow I saw her for the first time in Boise a few weeks ago. ??? my bad.