text by Britta Plyler and Anna McClain
Formed in 2007, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside have become staples of the Pacific Northwest music community. It makes sense that their sound has been described as “rockabilly,” because Ford, originally from North Carolina, infuses her own style of southern soulfulness. After moving her musical talents to Portland, Ford met fellow band mates Jeff Munger (guitar), Ford Tennis (drums), and Tyler Tornfelt (bass) while she was working as a waitress. Ford’s gritty and powerful voice, which has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday, feels like the best kind of kick to the face. Their most recent album, Untamed Beast features song after song of Ford chewing up clever lyrics and fiercely spitting them out. If there’s one thing more delicious than listening to their music, it’s watching them live.
It was hard not to tap your feet and do a little jig during Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside’s performance in the KEXP Bumbershoot Music Lounge. Baby blue electric guitar in hand, Sallie dove right into “Bad Boys,” from the group’s sophomore album, Untamed Beast. As Fred Armisen aptly points out in an episode of Portlandia, Portland is “where all the hot girls wear glasses.” Sallie Ford is like Portland’s poster girl, sporting a snappy pair of retro glasses and showing off her musical skills.
Ford and her band somehow made “fried green tomatoes” sound graphic in “Do Me Right,” also off their new album. The quartet played five more tracks from their new album, and of course the crowd-pleasing “Danger,” off their debut album. Closing with another from Untamed Beast, “Party Kids,” we’re certain the audience is prepared to find their inner party kid out at the festival this afternoon.