Ann Hall Cooks Up Something ‘Wonderful’
S.B. Businesswoman Goes from Salsa to Songwriting
On Saturday, August 13, Santa Barbara singer/songwriter Anne Hall and her band, The Remarkables, will play a release show for her new album of soul and R&B originals and covers, Wonderful, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, and though it may be the first time her creations meet your ears, it may not be the first of her concoctions to greet your sensory receptors. Hall has already put her name on the area culinary scene with a line of salsas, Mesa Salsa Co., based on passed-down salsa recipes she developed with her daughter, Ali Altamirano.
Having gotten her business off the ground, Hall has turned her attention to a lifelong love: music. Like the salsas, Hall’s music has smoky and spicy notes, with a sultry, glamorous late-night-lounge vibe, featuring lush production from John Baffa at Brotheryn Studios in Ojai. But it’s her voice, with its notes of sweetness, which stands out most. “Music to me has always been a calling to my soul, even as a kid,” she said. “As a kid I was a big fan of the classic soul sound of Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, and Etta James, Sam Cooke, and now I’m trying to combine all that with a modern twist.” She hung around fellow musicians as a teen, but with motherhood to come not long after high school, her musical ambitions took a little time to find their moment of realization. She looks up to new soul artists such as Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, and Sharon Jones, who didn’t hit their strides until later in their musical development. “They’re in their sixties, and they’re kicking butt now,” she said.
Arriving here took some patience, she said, particularly with the development of the album — which took a year to record and release, versus her first effort, which took a week — but she learned to enjoy the process. “Before, I’d always want to get to the next end point and the next end point, always with this self-defeating battle going on in my head. This was about taking a step back and calming down and enjoying every step,” she said.
Saturday’s show should be a great chance to step back, calm down, and unwind, and who knows? There may be some spare salsa to share. Anne Hall & The Remarkables play Saturday, August 13, at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.). Lynette Gaona opens at 6 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.