NEW YORK – A confused French journalist gave Sallie Ford a chance to get something off her chest.
The reporter asked Ford and her band, the Sound Outside, about being rockability artists, not realizing that adding a `t’ to rockabilly created a brand new musical style. They borrowed the word as the title of a song on their new album that complains about pigeonholing musicians.
We thought it was a fun way to look at the silly use of words, said Jeffrey Munger, the band’s guitar player.
In Rockability, Ford sings, I’m not a part of any scene. I can’t wait to see the day when all the genres melt away.
The tag probably stems from the tone in Munger’s Teisco guitar, which has a surfer twang to it. Ford’s swagger fits well, too. Despite the song’s lyrics, Ford said the label doesn’t really bother her, so long as people realize her influences aren’t that limited. She likes contemporaries such as Regina Spektor and Cat Power, along with blues and jazz singers such as Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington.
To me, a feminine voice from the past had this mystique to them that not a lot of people are doing, Ford said. All these jazz singers, I like the tone of their voice where it’s feminine but still powerful.
Ford, 25, grew up in Asheville, N.C., playing classical violin and piano with a supportive family (her dad is a puppet artist). She got an electric guitar for her 16th birthday and turned to rock ’n’ roll from classical because she wanted to express herself in her own songs instead of performing material written by others.
There are not many girls who do rock ’n’ roll music, she said. There are, but not that many. I’d like to make that point, that girls can rock out, too.