There’s an adage that says the older you get, the less you look up with wonder at the world.
The concept horrifies 20-year-old Greta Salpeter, who tries to convey aesthetic elegance in every song she co-writes and sings with her Chicago combo The Hush Sound.
“I just don’t believe that saying is true,” the hippie-ish blonde says. “I went to India in January for two weeks, just to explore. And even if you’re going to a place where there’s destruction and poverty, there’s so much beauty there, as well, even if you’re just experiencing the energy of a person standing right next to you.”
Folks warned Salpeter not to travel alone. But she and a friend bought plane tickets anyway, hired a driver when they touched down, and saw as many exotic wonders as they could. “And the art there is so beautiful; just the music, the dancing, the weaving,” says the keyboardist, who brings her band to Slim’s on Monday.
“You go into any shop in India, and before they try to sell you anything, they take you into the factory and introduce you to everyone who’s making the goods,” she says. “So we saw marble inlay being made, rugs being woven, silk being printed. And there were cows and peacocks and monkeys running around the streets. It was like ‘Jumanji.’”
The singer believes that she might be an old soul, rechanneled through a young girl’s body. She feels a strong affinity for the Southwest and a regressionist informed her that she’d lived before back in hardscrabble pioneer times, which could be what makes songs such as “Honey” and “Medicine Man” (from The Hush Sound’s latest set, “Goodbye Blues,” on Pete Wentz’s Decaydence label) sound so anachronistic, almost vaudevillian.
Salpeter is no stranger to mature situations. “We did an arena tour with some other bands my senior year, and I was sitting backstage doing my homework, trying to graduate,” she says.
In fact, The Hush Sound had been together for so long that the band almost broke up before “Blues” was recorded. But Salpeter soldiered on with guitarist and co-writer Bob Morris, taking breaks like the India junket when the whims hit her.
Will she pen songs about, say, the monkey who sat next to her demanding his banana payoff?
“I’m hoping so,” she says. “I thought there would be way more song writing when I got back from India, but there wasn’t. But I’ve filled the well, beauty-wise, and now I’m just waiting for all of it to bubble over in six months or so.”
IF YOU GO
The Hush Sound
Also appearing: The Cab, Steel Train, The Morning Light
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $14 advance, $16 at door
Contact: (415) 522-0333 or visit www.slims-sf.com