A pandemic didn’t prevent Sal’s Greenhouse from releasing its second EP, “Bloom,” last week. But concertgoers will need to wait to hear the new songs live.
The eight-piece funk band from Oakland is fronted by singer-baritone saxophonist Sally Green. That’s right, Sal is a woman.
“It’s very weird,” Green said. “I’ve been living and breathing this EP for the better part of a year and was very excited to get it out there and play live shows. Then having everything just come to a halt. We decided to put it out anyway. We figured maybe it will bring some people joy and give them a little bit of a distraction from everything that’s going on right now.”
Tahoe fans are familiar with Sal’s Greenhouse, which played the final Guitarfish Festival, the Brews, Jazz and Funk Fest at Squaw Valley and the New Year’s Eve show at Crystal Bay Casino, sharing the Crown Room stage with the California Honeydrops. It is scheduled to play Father’s Day, June 21, at Commons Beach, but that show, like all planned shows, is up in the air right now.
The band’s booking agent is North Shore’s Jesse Dunn of Blue Sun Entertainment.
“Most of us are full-time musician artists and (the COVID-19 crisis) is devastating to a lot of us.”
Green, however, does have another job. She works at a Contra Costa County trauma hospital.
“It’s nice to have a stable job but it feels like going into the epicenter right now,” she said. “But we’ve trained our whole careers for something like this. This is what we do.”
Musically, Green studied jazz in Mt. Hood, Oregon.
Sal’s Greenhouse formed in 2013 and includes founding members Green, keyboardist Craig Schneider, bassist Erico Cisneros. Guitarist Cam Perridge joined early on. A second guitarist, Michael Wyner, recently joined the group, which includes singer Olivia Ruff, trumpeter Chris Brown and drummer Hassan Hurd.
Onstage, Green delivers a big, fearless sound with her horn (“Bari is my one and only”). Offstage, she’s bold, too.
She sent a demo with the five songs that appear on “Bloom” to esteemed producer Justin Stanley, who has worked with Prince, Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney and Stanley’s wife, soul singer Nikka Costa.
“I reached out to him because my biggest influence is Nikka Costa,” Green said. “Everything that’s inspired me to be a frontwoman of a funk-R&B band. It was only a dream. I didn’t expect a response.”
Stanley did respond, of course, and offered to collaborate on the songs. Green traveled to North Hollywood in May 2019 to work with Stanley.
“He refined the songs and made them a million times better,” she said.
Before “Bloom” was released on March 27, there were a pair of singles, “4 Ever” and “All That I Need,” which have been aired on Berkeley radio station KPFA and San Francisco’s KXSF.
“Bloom” is on the Denver label Color Red, which is co-founded by Eddie Roberts, the boogaloo guitarist of The New Mastersounds.
Again, she had no expectations when she sent Roberts the EP. Green befriended Roberts during the short time he lived in the Bay Area. She has sat in with The New Mastersounds on multiple occasions.
“It’s really great what he gives back to the artists,” Green said. “I was elated for the opportunity to be among such great company. They are just a great independent label. They’ve done so much for us in terms of getting our name out there. We are really happy to be a part of their label for sure.”
Label: Color Red
Release: March 27, 2020