SRJC band of the week: The Oopsie Daisies

Both members of The Oopsie Daisies play guitar and ukelele.The use of ukeleles brings a cheerful element to even their more somber tunes.

Estefany Gonzalez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Oopsie, they did it again.

The Oopsie Daisies string duo came together in a chance meeting when Ashely Jarrett and Kristen Pearce sang their first duet.

“We were watching The Hubbub Club and they were playing a song that we both recognized. We were just standing and we just started singing harmony,” Jarrett said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We got something. We need to start singing together.”

It’s a rare occurrence when two people can sing harmony to a song and have it work out perfectly, without singing the same parts or being off key. For the North Bay performers, attending a concert turned into a musical project of their own.

After that day, the pair decided they needed to sing old tunes that lend themselves to harmonies. The pair mainly perform covers or song mash-ups with a creative twist of their own. Jarrett’s high upbeat voice and Pearce’s low blues inspired vocals create a fun, creative and one-of-a-kind sound.

The duo uses cheerful instruments like ukuleles to bring happy notes to even some of the sadder songs it plays. “I like the balance of having a somber sound with this bright instrument because if I have a moment when I’m sad, I’m still happy,” Jarrett said.  “There’s always both inside of me.”

What is most unique about the band’s style is both members of The Oopsie Daisies play guitar and ukulele, which allow the duo to switch off harmonies without missing a beat during live performances.

It’s rare to see women play different string instruments. How do you feel your sound is received in the North Bay?

Jarrett: I think people have been so supportive of us. They’re really awesome and nice. Today I was on the ukulele and Kristen was on the guitar but we switch it up too.

Pearce: I feel it’s becoming more frequent. I’m so thrilled to be a part of that movement in Sonoma County. It might not be that way in other places that have a driving music scene, but I feel like females are really stepping up and I’m happy to be a part of that. I think the general public loves male voices and female voices together. You see that in bands like T-sisters and The Bootleg Honeys.

How would you describe your sound?

Pearce: Vocal-harmony driven. Fun and eclectic.

Jarrett: What I feel is different about us as well is that with every song, we try to tell a story. When we rehearse a song, we talk about what it means and what it means to us. Oftentimes we’ll do mash ups of a couple of songs together and we strategically select those songs because we feel it’s saying something as part of that song as well. We’re not just playing because we like the sound of it; we play it because we like the story of it and it’s a story we relate to it.

What’s the difference between playing a farmers market and a venue?

Jarrett: People are definitely feeling the music and participating in it, but they’re not just sitting down to watch you 100 percent of the time. It’s a different kind of experience. You have a different way of performing because you’re not able to make eye contact with a lot of people or know that you’re connecting with someone. It’s more that you’re just like ‘here I am and hopefully other people are appreciating it, but if not, I appreciate it.’

What inspires you to play music?
Pearce: I know I started to play the guitar because I really enjoyed that I could sing and accompany myself, and that’s still the reason. Singing through my voice and what’s inside of me is what inspires me to play, and that’s turned into being a songwriter, which is a beautiful form of expression. What Ashley and I do, doing mainly cover tunes; it’s the other side of the coin. We’re inspired by all these covers to sing songs and to write our own songs, and these songs are just as important and we don’t want to leave those songs behind.

Jarrett: The first time I picked up a guitar, it was like “Wow, this is within my control now. I can create a song, I can write a song, I can play it and I can be the one person who brings it into the world.” I think that for me, that was exciting. Music is so universal. You don’t need to speak the same language or come from the same place. Music can affect you in a certain way and it releases a type of emotion that sometimes gets bottled up and can’t be expressed through words or other means. For me, it’s a release and a way to connect with others.

What are your upcoming plans?

Jarrett: On July 31, we’re playing the West End Farmers Market. On June 23 we’re playing at the Twin Oaks Road House with the Orchid Killers, so we’re excited about that gig. And we’re playing a couple of shows at Barley and Hops Tavern on May 19 and June 16. Those are our big plans so far.