Best Americana Artist of the Year Nomination

| March 5, 2022 | 0 Comments

Enter the Blue Sky (ETBS) garners its third San Diego Music Award nomination for “Best Americana Artist of the Year,” and band leader Sandé Lollis’ solo album, “Being Human,” is nominated Best Americana Album of the Year.

“The band and I are elated with the nominations. I am in love with my trio and performing with them live; it means a lot that people enjoy us and our music, and that we find ourselves once again on the SDMA list,” says Lollis. “And then on top of it, to have my first solo album recognized as an album of the year contender, gosh, it’s such an honor.”

ETBS stayed busy during the 2020-21 shut down, creating new songs and kept performing live by presenting over a dozen driveway concerts from Lollis’ garage. Well-attended by masked neighbors and fans, many shared how meaningful it was to be able to safely spend time with others and were thankful to the trio. The shows brought KUSI news out three times to feature ETBS on their evening news, and they also streamed live on Facebook. “We were so happy to be doing it; I guess it kept us top of mind,” shares Lollis, “and when I found out how much everyone loved it, that was the icing!”

Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Lollis writes all songs for the band. Her performance is soulful and wholly uplifting; her lyrics are thoughtful and heartfelt. As rhythm guitarist and lead singer for Enter the Blue Sky, Lollis has an undeniable glow, and a powerful beacon of a voice.

With a clear sense of direction, Karen Childress-Evans is effervescent on viola. Her innovative improvisation and rich accompaniments result in a mix of rich ambience, playful motifs, and a unique sound. Her backing vocals are a welcome complement to the three-part harmony mix.

Tina Dee sings backing vocals. Her voice is smooth and easy on the ears; her enthusiasm and dedication lead her to develop harmonies suited perfectly to the arrangement of each song and to the rest of the trio.

“Enter the Blue Sky’s music is catchy and beautiful,” says Cathryn Beeks of Listen Local Radio, “with rich harmonies and a full sound.”

Even with the trio’s gig schedule, access to public venues was still limited, and that left time for Lollis to continue writing. The pandemic became an impetus for her new solo album. Being Human presents a snapshot of what life was like for her since early 2020, through isolation, the BLM movement, political unrest, and through upheaval in family dynamics. “The songs are intensely personal as I relish the hope and suffer the despair of what it means to be human. Sequestered away in the studio was an emotionally uplifting place to be,” states Lollis.

Released in December 2021, the musicians on the album include Jeff Berkley on guitars, and also produced the album; Josh Weinstein on keyboard; Josh Hermsmeier on drums; Rick Nash on bass; Ted Stern on pedal steel; Clint Davis on fiddle and banjo, and Carissa Lynn Renner on backing vocal. ETBS members made cameo appearances as well.

Lollis is known for her songwriting, her ability to paint a storyboard, and her strong vocal presence. “Such beauty in her voice and graceful delivery. Nothing rushed, just right in the pocket and full of amazing energy and passion!” Berkley said

Bart Mendoza in the San Diego Troubadour, February 2022, wrote, “It’s a Sunday morning record. Reflective lyrics, with a theme of looking back, mean that repeated listens yield more layers. Autobiographical opener “Lift Me Up” is a Petty-esque light folk rocker that finds Lollis in a wistful frame of mine, recalling chapters from life, while the single here is probably “Fallin’ Down,” featuring a down-on-her-luck storyline that’s set to a strong melody. Meanwhile, “Don’t Push Me Along” puts Lollis squarely in pop singer-songwriter mode, indeed I can hear echoes of Joan Armatrading and that opening will make Pink Floyd fans smile.”

The public takes part in choosing the band and the album to win; voting for the awards closes at 5pm on March 15, and everyone can vote once everyday at The awards event takes place April 19 at Humphreys by the Bay, just three days after ETBS return from their two-week UK tour.

Enter the Blue Sky hopes the recognition will give them more opportunities to be heard because, as Lollis puts it, “We just want to share our music, to know that it touched someone; you know, that’s what it’s all about.”

“Being Human” is available at SandeLollisMusic.comiTunes, and Spotify, or at any of their live shows. See for the trio’s calendar.

Enter the Blue Sky (ETBS) garners its third San Diego Music Award nomination for “Best Americana Artist of the Year.” Photo is courtesy of Ghia Larkins.

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