Courtesy of The Salty Caramels
When asked about the topics explored by The Salty Caramels in the band’s songs, Sarah Overdier laughed and rattled off killing, stealing and homewrecking, to name a few.
The four band members, which include Overdier, Molly Winters, Paige Strickling and Emily Ng, came together early last autumn. The Salty Caramels originally began in 2010 with Winters and two different women, but after those girls went their separate ways, Winters sought out new female talent to piece the band back together.
But just like the band’s sweet and salty name, the girls’ music is about the ups and downs of being female.
“Womanhood is definitely a common theme, and being proud of your womanhood, because we have a lot of songs that are sweet love songs and then songs about the other side of being a woman,” Overdier said.
The band’s name might sound familiar to many sweet-toothed Columbus residents – it’s based off a flavor of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Winters said that, when coming up with the original band name, she wanted to keep it local but still express what the band is all about.
“Women are sort of salty and sweet, we really are … and I just wanted to keep the name because I think there’s value to that, that association with being a girl band,” Winters said.
Overdier agreed, and said her band members are like the sisters she never had.
“Our name, The Salty Caramels, really reflects our music and our sisterhood,” Overdier said. “That essence sort of transfers on stage. We’re not only performing but we’re growing together.”
Though the band maintains the same name after its lineup change, the group is working to establish its own fresh sound. Winters said she would describe the band’s music as edgy pop-rock Americana but also added that it has a hint of nostalgia.
“Even though that’s not a genre, I want it to be,” Winters said. “Because there’s something about girls swinging their voices, like it’s not a dying art anymore.”
While the band performs some covers of older songs, such as those of The Andrews Sisters, the girls are working to build its own collection of original compositions.
“We have a vision for how The Salty Caramels brand is going to sound and look, so there are some songs that we sort of write specifically for it,” Overdier said.
Overdier and Winters both sing and write music for the group. Winters, like Overdier and Ng, is involved in other musical projects with different styles but wants to bring a new voice to The Salty Caramels, which she said is shifting from bluegrass to pop rock.
“I try to be a little more creative and witty with The Salty Caramels because there’s all these ideas going through my head of what girls can pull off that’s a little more entertaining than your typical love song,” Winters said.
Winters pointed out one song – “Damn Good Woman” – as a perfect representation of the band. The opening line of the song is, “I’m a damn good woman, but I’m always doing wrong.”
“It’s just the story of a woman … she’s a passionate person but there’s always the bad side of things where you feel like a sinner sometimes but you’re just living your life passionately,” Winters said.
On top of more traditional instruments, such as the guitar, viola and bass, one thing that sets this band apart is its use of unconventional instrumentation. Among the items played by the band members are ukulele, kazoo, washboard, singing saw and glockenspiel, as well as a suitcase drum set that’s in the works for the band’s next performance.
“I’ve noticed that people are so thrilled to see something come out of something that’s not really necessarily made for music, like a saw or a washboard,” Winters said. “I think it adds to the whimsy of the whole presentation that we’re giving the crowd. It’s a little more unique than a lot of the traditional indie-rock bands that are doing whatever they’re doing.”
Strickling, the band’s main percussionist, is constructing the drum set based off a video tutorial she found online and said she’s having fun with the project.
“I really enjoy playing a drum kit, but it’s fun to kind of mix it up and it’s easier to play at smaller (venues),” Strickling said.
While the band has not released any albums yet, Winters said it’s “full-speed ahead.” The girls are hoping to begin recording soon and possibly even do some short-term tours in the future.
“A year from now, I would definitely see us playing a lot of shows still in Columbus and probably building a base outside of Columbus as well, so maybe touring a bit and definitely recording something,” Ng said.
Winters agreed, saying she thinks The Salty Caramels could definitely serve as a girl band that represents Columbus from the road.
“The sky’s the limit,” Winters said.
The band’s next performance is scheduled for March 2, when the girls will be opening for bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. The show will be at Woodland’s Backyard, located at 668 Grandview Ave. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased through the venue’s website.