The past year has been a blur of pretty harmonies and excitement for the Salty Caramels.
The indie-Americana band released its second full-length album, “Baby Blue,” one year ago.
Although categorizing the songs is difficult, they are close to retro rock.
No two are alike: “Beer & Lemonade” has a country swing, but “Nighttime Song” is an indie-rock lullaby.
But band member Molly Winters classifies the album by which guitar she uses most, which in this case is electric.
Musically, “Baby Blue” is more polished than the band’s first release. The album was a collective effort to become more cohesive, and the Salty Caramels’ maturity grew in the process — especially the band’s buttery harmonies.
The band is not done, though, and is writing new material.
“We’ve all grown a lot together, both personally and with music,” said drummer Paige Vandiver.
In 2012, Winters, the band’s founding member, saw Sarah Hudson performing at Woodlands Tavern, knew Emily Ng from her band, Super Desserts, and met Vandiver at a show.
Thus, the girl group was born.
Six years with the Salty Caramels have made the women close: They were in Winters’ wedding and recently celebrated her second “band baby.”
But being all female is double-edged: Although the quartet covers every emotion from salty to sweet, band members sometimes are treated differently because they are women.
“Just because I’m capable, it becomes like, ‘Oh, look at that girl! She can read! And she plays bass! And she has a full-time job!’ ” Ng said.
The group often is considered a novelty for being all female, which has been advantageous before, but being recognized for anything other than their talent can be frustrating.
However, representation still is important.
Vandiver remembers watching the Bangles growing up and realizing that she, too, could make music.
“Some of the people that come out and watch us are kids, and to see some of those dads and moms say, ‘Hey, see that girl over there? She’s playing the drums. You can play the drums,’ ” Vandiver said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Above all, the Salty Caramels emphasize the importance of support from friends, family, fans and local organizations, including Art Makes Columbus, WOSU — whose in-studio music series will feature them in October — and even Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which gave permission to name the band after its signature flavor.
“This music scene here, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Vandiver said. “They’re so supportive of local artists.”
The Salty Caramels’ next show will be at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at Combustion Brewery & Taproom, 80 W. Church St. in Pickerington.
Originally published in ThisWeek News on September 10, 2018.