The fiesty frontwoman has her own opinions and isn’t afraid to share them on "Untamed Beast".
Portland-based rock act Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside has a frontwoman who tells it like it is. She writes rock ‘n’ roll music that is peppered with sarcasm and anger, innuendos and not-so-subtle confessions. “There are some naughty songs on the record,” Ford says, laughing. “Most of the time, I just end up being really blunt.” Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside play One Eyed Jacks on Sunday night.
For Ford, the band began with a move. She left North Carolina for Portland, Oregon to “do something creative,” she says. Her creative outlet included book-binding and photography classes until Ford decided to pick up her acoustic guitar again. “I’d done some singing, classical violin, and classical guitar before I moved here,” she says. “But I’d never played with other people in a rock band, only an orchestra. It always appealed to me to try and do a band. I was a little confused on how to really do it at first. The thing that frustrated me was that you have to sell yourself a little bit. I played open mics and things I wasn’t comfortable doing, but I eventually met the band that way.”
The band’s 2013 release Untamed Beast plays with the sounds of artists like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash– it’s hook-driven pop rock that retains a ‘50s-era jazz sound. “In high school, I listened to a lot of punk,” Ford says. “I wanted that modern, indie-rock band thing, but vocally, I’m influenced by blues and jazz music.” And while Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside has the rowdiness and sharp bite of any gritty punk act, the band doesn’t sacrifice its emotional integrity.
As for the rowdy lyrics, Ford says she likes to walk that line. “I struggle with a way to write lyrics,” she says. “Making lyrics that are shocking or funny in some sort of way has always been my favorite way to write. It feels boring to write poetry sometimes, and I feel like people listen to it less when it’s sad - or happy, even. I think there needs to be another emotion.”
Ford isn’t all talk, either. Her feminist views and matter-of-fact outlook on men can surface even in conversations with strangers. “There was this one guy at this show that was following me around for the longest time and obviously wanted to talk to me,” Ford says. “He finally did, and he says, ‘I’ve never heard anything like your music. I didn’t think girls could be powerful.’ And he told me that he listens to my record on Spotify. So I said that he should buy my record because that doesn’t support me, and that actually girls are more powerful than guys.”