A wise man once said, the difference between winners and losers is the winners never quit. Sandy Saunders is one of the winners. Playing the Northwest music scene for years, this lady is putting in the time and effort it takes to hone her sound and build a strong following. She blends her love of several music styles, crafting a very original sound. A mix of rock, blues and country, the band’s sound is a refreshing change of pace in a town where so many bands are playing the same old blues standards.
Saunders has played the Northwest music scene now for years, playing an average of 150 to 200 shows a year giving this band a chance to really get tight. The band got it right when Saunders recruited Scotsman Billy Lindsay on the lead guitar. Portland is a town rich with world-class musicians and Lindsay stands head and shoulders above most. A man of few words, Lindsay lets his guitar do the talking. With Saunders playing rhythm guitar and belting out her vocals, Lindsay adds a rock-style guitar that is the icing on the cake as the back line pumps out solid dance beats.
This band has gone through several changes over the years and through it all Saunders has kept her head up and constantly moved forward, each change bringing her closer to the mark that this band is reaching at its current lineup. On bass guitar, Al Wooten is laying down the bottom end, starting his music career as a trumpet player in a jazz environment. Wooten hails from the state of Indiana and now calls Portland home. As a bonus, Wooten can also sing strong harmonies, as well as strong lead vocals.
Kicking the drums for Saunders now is Scott Cwalinski. He played for years as a pro drummer in Las Vegas and brings an energy to this band that is the finishing touch. He blends multiple music influences to develop strong originals, as well as giving your favorite dance songs a little more spice and kick. The bass drum is where Cwalinski performs his magic. Where most local players would be sitting back and playing things straight, Cwalinski is adding some great old-school double bass kicks that really turn this band up a notch on the excitement meter.
After years of playing shows, members’ faces changing from year to year, Saunders deserves some recognition among her peers. And this new lineup is the start of that happening for them. If you have seen this band play, keep coming back. If you have not had the pleasure, then make a point of catching them at one of the many shows the band has scheduled. The band performs on a regular basis at the Tillicum, 8585 S.W. Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy. The owners of this establishment are a long-standing staple of support to the Northwest music scene. Keeping live music alive in their club is important to them and they deserve support and patronage in return.
To see the Sandy Saunders Band live, check their website or see the schedule posted here in Positively Entertainment. The group is also in the studio laying tracks for a new CD, tentatively called Rattlesnake Road.