You might look at Sallie Ford's cat-eye glasses and thrift-store dresses and see a shy, sweet thing. In "Danger," she sings longingly to the boy who just doesn't seem to care: "I know I shouldn't, but I want to let you in / Now all I wanna do is hold your hand." But once she gets to the stuttering chorus, it's clear that this girl could turn on you in a heartbeat. Ford is more of a heart-breaker than the kind of girl who wastes her time pining away.
With a powerhouse voice, the Portland transplant is a mix of Cat Power and Ella Fitzgerald (both favorites of hers). She's got a touch of that green-eyed soul Adele has turned into a best-seller, but Ford has a taste for the blues and rockabilly, too. With help from her band, The Sound Outside, she conjures images of twisting all night long at the sock hop with Marty McFly.
That's the thing about Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside: The group somehow sounds modern and vintage at the same time. On the band's first album, Dirty Radio, Ford and her band channel the swing era in one track and throw in a reference to Jets to Brazil in the next.
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside's official video for "I Swear."
Ford yelps about the current state of mainstream radio in "I Swear." Her complaint is that things have gotten boring — that everything just sounds the same. But with recent spots at Bonnaroo and the Newport Folk Festival, Ford is doing her part to make the music world more interesting.