Music News & Reviews

Blame Sally regroups for a Grass Valley performance

Blame Sally will perform in Grass Valley on Saturday, April 2.
Blame Sally will perform in Grass Valley on Saturday, April 2.

After a four-year new-music drought, a lot of Blame Sally fans may well have been thinking: All good things must end.

Lucky for them, those fans were mostly wrong.

While it’s not clear when a full comeback might get underway, the all-woman Americana band regroups Saturday, April 2, at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley. It’s one of just four shows in Northern California that Blame Sally is booked to play heading into early summer.

The Sallies also will return to the Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival in Laytonville, but long-term plans for the quartet are tentative, according to percussionist Pam Delgado,who also provides vocals and guitar. The other members are Renee Hartcourt (guitar, bass, banjo, harmonica, vocals), Jeri Jones (guitar, bass, dobro, mandoline, vocals) and Monica Pasqual (piano, keys, accordion, melodica, vocals).

In 2008 Blame Sally signed to Berkeley record label Ninth Street Opus

“We’re sort of in the talking stage,” Delgado said, noting the burnout from three consecutive years of touring after the 2011 album “Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.” “The plan was to definitely take a couple years off, regroup, write some new songs and get a new album together.”

The Bay Area band formed in 2000 and self-released a couple of albums.

A few years in, the members decided to try to make a go of it full time and in 2008 signed to Berkeley record label Ninth Street Opus, with which it has released four albums and toured internationally.

During the hiatus, members reconnected with family, pursued other trades and circled back to collaborate in one another’s bands, she said.

For example, Delgado is in a band – the Pam and Jeri Show – with Blame Sally lead guitarist Jones. Pasqual has Monica and the Handsome Brunettes, and Harcourt works with New York musician John McConnel in Dear John Love Renée, but also recruits other Sallies to join in at times.

“So it’s all good,” Delgado says of the ever-strong, intertwining group dynamic. “It’s all good, positive energy.”

Now that everyone has taken some much-needed time off from Blame Sally, Delgado said, the possibility of another studio album and world tour is very much alive.

We did stick with it for a really long time

Blame Sally percussionist Pam Delgado

The band’s appearance in Grass Valley, its third since 2009, is a welcome treat for the center’s audience, according to Julie Baker, the center’s executive director.

“Great female songwriters and harmonies … Blame Sally (shows) are always a solid, heartfelt and authentic concert experience,” she said by email.

Reflecting on the band’s needed pause, Delgado, 51, mused that age – early 50s to 60 – likely played a factor:

“I mean, it’s hard. … A younger person, I’m sure, would have more stamina to kind of stick with it. And we did stick with it for a really long time – since 2000.”

Whether Blame Sally takes another stab at a life together in song, or if each member pursues her own ventures, Delgado said, “I think the main thing is that we’re all doing everything we enjoy, which is a pretty hard thing for most people to say.”

Blame Sally

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2

Where: The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley

Cost: $22-$25

Information: www.thecenterforthearts.org

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