Sara Billdt taught herself to sing listening to the old R&B and soul tunes her father, a professional musician, played for a living.
Billdt now fronts The Sara B3 and the 45rpm Live Soul Revue, a local act reviving the work of artists like The Supremes and The Ike & Tina Revue.
“For me, it’s about the nostalgia,” she tells me over the phone. “I grew up listening to this.”
The Sara B3 have recently caught the attention of local audiences, but Billdt — who has been playing music since she was a child — says the band has existed in one form or another for about 10 years.
“This time,” she says, “we’ve got such a great band we’re going to keep it going.”
With three vocalists — Billdt, Cassie Carter and Tahnee Hepner fronting a 10-piece band that’s an all-star lineup of Eugene musicians from Ferns, Psyrup and Mood Area 52 — the Sara B3 capture the near pandemonium of classic soul.
For The Sara B3, well-executed close harmonies are not for the faint of heart, and performance is paramount.
“We like to bring it visually,” Billdt explains, hoping audiences will “lose themselves in the music and live energy.” The band learns the material “almost completely by ear,” Billdt says. “It’s easy and fun to learn these songs.”
But most of all, Billdt says, the musicians’ backgrounds in rock ’n’ roll (Billdt also plays in the heavy-hitting local band Coyote) helps The Sara B3 connect funk, soul and R&B to what might be commonly considered harder stuff.
“We have a lot of drive and power behind this music,” she adds.
The Sara B3 and the 45rpm Live Soul Revue performs two sets starting 9 pm Saturday, June 23, at Blairally Vintage Arcade; $7, 21-plus. — Will Kennedy