Blame it in the boogie

Blame Sally
Blame Sally

A TENNIS club may seem an unlikely place to host a touring American rock band.

But in 2003, as a student spending the summer working abroad, I was dragged along by some American co-workers to see soft-rock supremos Journey play a sold-out show on tennis courts in Hilton Head Island.

I am not ashamed to say it was on of my favourite musical experiences of all time and now not a week goes by where I don’t pop in Ask the Lonely or Stone in Love while travelling.

Hopefully, those going to see San Francisco folk-rock quarter Blame Sally at Woodend Tennis Club tonight will have a similar experience.

With an attitude combining acoustic textures with Americana harmonies and an independent spirit, Blame Sally are an all-female foursome who see themselves as an antidote to soulless “girl groups”.

The group got together when all members were in their late 30s and each has deliberately avoided the mantle of front woman status, choosing instead an all for one, one for all, ethos that makes the band what it is today.

They have had their fair share of challenges to overcome, which have added more depth and meaning to their songs than ever before

In 2006 Renée Harcourt (guitar, mandolin, banjo and vocals) was diagnosed with and successfully fought breast cancer and Monica Pasqual’s (keyboards, accordion and vocals) long-time boyfriend was diagnosed with MS.

Blame Sally began in 2000 when Pasqual was putting together musicians to play at a launch concert for one of her solo projects.

She and Harcourt had known each other since participating in a songwriting competition years before.

For this show, Pasqual also enlisted two of the most sought-after side musicians on the scene, her old friends and band mates Jeri Jones (guitar and vocals) and Pamela Delgado(drums, percussion and vocals). It was the one-off gig that’s lasted 12 years — and counting.

To coincide with their first UK and Ireland tour, Blame Sally will be releasing Live at KVIE Studios, which was recorded in Sacramento for US Public Television last December.

n Blame Sally are at the Woodend Bowling and Tennis Club on Thursday. Show starts at 8pm. Tickets and more info from Alan Hendry on 07944354459.