Interview: Pretty Gritty | Band | Portland, OR

Pretty Gritty is an alternative-country duo from Rockville, Maryland
that has made a great impact on the Frederick area music scene.  The
band consists of Sarah Wolff on guitar/vocals and Blaine Heinonen on
guitar, vocals, and occasionally whistling and spoons. I did an in-depth
interview with the band before they left on yet another North American
tour.

Q. How did Pretty Gritty start?
Heinonen: We both played in separate bands years ago. Sarah played bass
in a hard rock band. I played rhythm guitar in a metal band. Both bands
use to book shows together. A few years later we both ended up band-less
and starting to sing/play acoustic guitars. It all went from there!
Q. Who were some of your influences from the start?
Heinonen and Wolff: Miranda Lambert, Ray Lamontagne, Imelda May,
Steeldrivers, Ryan Adams, John Mayer, and the list goes forever.
Q. After you formed and starting writing songs, what was your next step?
Did you want to go straight into recording or play shows?
Wolff: We kind of did it backwards. We rehearsed like crazy at first. We
had never played and sang so much before. Practice was needed for sure.
We went into the studio to record a demo of our covers to get gigs and
then started writing during studio time. We decided to just become a
band with originals.
Q. How did you approach going on tour? Did you ever think you would tour when you first started?
Wolff: Neither of us had ever toured before except the occasional “out of town” gig. We made a pact to quit our jobs and really make a jumping effort to give it our all. We don’t
want to look back and wonder if we’d gotten farther if we made it full
time and rolled out.
Q. What are some of your favorite experiences from touring so far?
Heinonen: Meeting some really nice and genuine people, now friends.
Seeing places we didn’t even know existed. Traveling is something we
love to do but never get a chance to do as much as we just did. We
didn’t want to say we could always go to Montana or San Diego when we
are like fifty. Never know if you’ll see fifty and that would be a
bummer.
Q. How does it feel after coming home from a tour and playing to a home crowd in or around Frederick?
Wolff: It was as expected…awesome! Frederick will always be home and
it’s nice to see family and friends, but we have the road warrior itch
and desire to get back out there!
Q. My favorite song has to be ‘Cliché.’ How did you figure out that Blaine could play spoons and whistle so well?
Wolff: All on accident. One day I walked into the studio to hear
‘Cliché,’ and Blaine had already recorded whistles and spoons. I laughed
my butt off and now that’s ‘Cliché.’
Q. What are the future plans for the band?
Wolff: To be in the tabloids and TMZ for misbehaving and spending more
money than we will ever have! Just kidding, to finally be in a position
where we can be comfortably doing what we love. Whether it’s a big label
or small label and support from fans, we will keep recording music we
are proud of.
Q. After touring and seeing many other cities, how does Frederick compare?
Heinonen: I like Frederick a lot. Maybe one day I’ll live there or have a
place to stay when I visit, but we have seen a lot of places. No one of
them is better or worse. We just have to end up where it makes the most
sense for us.
Q. What advice would you give to young musicians?
Heinonen: I guess the advice we would give is to network and network
again. You have to get out there and meet people, research everything,
and attack every avenue possible. Be smart, make necessary sacrifices, and don’t be afraid to fail.
Check out their music at prettygrittymusic.com

Author: whatisfrederick

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