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Sally singer goes full circle with S.L. tie

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Renee Harcourt, left, Pam Delgado, Jeri Jones and Monica Pasqual make up Blame Sally.

Renee Harcourt, left, Pam Delgado, Jeri Jones and Monica Pasqual make up Blame Sally.

Irene Young

Monica Pasqual, keyboardist and vocalist for the all-female, Bay Area band Blame Sally, grew up in Salt Lake City.

She attended Ensign Elementary, Bryant Junior High and East High School.

She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in political science but got a minor in music and studied piano performance under Lenora Neal.

She is also the daughter of world-renowned Utah-based artist Pilar Pobil and the late Walter Smith.

In fact, it was her father that got her interested in the piano.

"My father was a piano player," Pasqual said during a telephone call from her home in Oakland, Calif. "I got into classical music and thought I was going to be a classical pianist."

After being misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, Pasqual quit music for a while.

"It turned out I had celiac disease, which means I couldn't digest wheat gluten," she said.

Pasqual didn't pick up songwriting until she moved to San Francisco with her sister after college.

A decade ago, Pasqual and some musician friends — percussionist Pam Delgado, guitarist Jeri Jones and bassist Renee Harcourt — formed Blame Sally.

"We had our own bands and had played together on different occasions," Pasqual said. "I was having a CD release party, and I asked them to be in my band."

The four rehearsed a couple of times a week and played the party, Pasqual said. "We enjoyed it so much, we decided to keep it going."

The band's career has been "magical," Pasqual said. "We've done some great gigs and music festivals," she said. "In fact, one of the most recent gigs was playing a festival opening for Joan Baez."

In fact, Blame Sally's new live CD, "Live at Stern Grove," is a recording of the band's gig at the festival.

"(It was) an amazing festival with Joan, and the show got recorded," Pasqual said. "That was a fun gig. (Joan's) such an icon. I grew up listening and loving her music. "One of the songs we do on the 'Stern Grove' CD was, 'La Llorna,' a song I first heard Joan sing. It's a traditional Mexican song."

Pasqual said she always looks forward to coming back to her hometown for shows.

"I have a great circle of friends and old family friends there," she said about Salt Lake City. "It's exciting to come and do a show at the State Room. I've heard it's a great place."

e-mail: scott@desnews.com

If you go...

What: Blame Sally

Where: The State Room, 638 S. State

When: Aug. 7, 9 p.m.

How much: $15-$18

Phone: 800-501-2885

Web: www.thestateroomslc.com