Catching Up With Blame Sally's Renée Harcourt
The Blame Sally vocalist and guitarist talks about her band.
Bay Area band Blame Sally will celebrate 20 years together in 2020. Known for its emotionally evocative songwriting and genre-busting sound (country-pop ballads and rock ’n’ roll barn burners are performed in equal measure), Blame Sally performs at the Osher Marin JCC this month. We spoke with vocalist and guitarist Renée Harcourt about the longevity of this girl-group-plus-one-guy band.
You raised your daughter in Mill Valley before moving to Sebastopol. Why the change of scenery?
My partner, Karen, and I decided to buy a place together with a bit of land. We love Marin but found a great place near Freestone.
How did the band first come together?
I moved to Marin in 1990. That year, I met Monica [Pasqual] at a songwriting competition. Monica was putting out a solo CD and asked me, Pam [Delgado] and Jeri [Jones] to be in her backup band. We spent a lot of time at Monica’s apartment in the Haight, rehearsing and drinking wine and eating great food provided by Monica’s Italian roommate, Pepe. It’s ironic that the project we did for fun had the most success.
To what do you attribute the band’s longevity?
Musically speaking, we all write and we all sing lead and we are all instrumentalists. That’s unusual in a band. And you can’t really get bored with the material because it is so diverse. Plus, we all acknowledge that we are better together than any of us is on our own.
What are your favorite songs to perform?
One of our most requested songs is “Orange.” I wrote it for my daughter when she was 9. It suits her. It suits her personality but everyone can relate to it. Another song I like is “All Rise.” I wrote it when I was going through cancer in 2006. It’s based on a Rumi poem called “The Guest House.” You might have heard it on KFOG’s Acoustic Sunrise program.
Any advice for young musicians?
I would always advise young people to follow their hearts and their passion but warn them about the difficulty of the music business. I always thought I would keep music on the side as a hobby. But I also loved design and illustration and that was a much easier way to make a living. The music happened very organically and happened out of passion and love. If music is your passion, have a backup plan. That is the reality of the business. April 6, Osher Marin JCC (San Rafael).