Blvd Park
Gig Seeker Pro

Blvd Park

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Americana Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Fri, Feb 12, Blvd Park"

I used to not suck at math, but now I do, so I’m not sure if there are more than the eight principal members of Sacramento’s self-proclaimed “spaghetti Western desert classic folk” act Blvd Park, who’ll be banging up the area’s best bowling alley this Friday, for free no less. Think Brian Ballentine and Co. and the rollicking sounds of fiddle, stand-up bass, gee-tar, sangin’, whispy and rusty harmonies—and the awesome sound you hear when bowling pins and a ball collide, over and over again. This is how I roll. 900 West Capitol Avenue in West Sacramento - Sacramento News & Review

"Fork in the Boulevard"

Blvd Park, an eight-piece ensemble who coined its music as “spaghetti western desert folk,” invented a sound that was widely embraced by the Sacramento music scene over the past couple of years. But a recording opportunity, and free housing with the Walkabouts’ vocalist Carla Torgerson, recently split the band, as four members moved to Seattle.

This fork-in-the-road presented itself during Blvd Park’s first Northwest tour: a chance to make an album in Seattle. The decision to move the crew away from Sacramento proved band-altering, as Blvd Park went from eight members to four.

“We’re just going down different paths in our lives,” says singer Tekla Waterfield of Blvd Park’s recent transition. “We’re doing a leap of faith here [in Seattle]—and we’re barely making it financially.” She accepts that the rest of the band couldn’t leave their jobs and security in Sacramento, though, calling the move “such a big risk.”

Blvd Park’s current lineup in Seattle is Brian Ballentine, Waterfield, Timothy Conroy on trumpet and Jarrett Mason on stand-up bass. The crew recently added Banton Foster to the band—and not a minute too soon, as Foster was headed to New Zealand but opted to stay in Seattle, adding banjo and clarinet to the mix.

Still in Sacramento are Elise Suttie and fiddle player Guinness Harley—also a couple—who plan on moving to Vermont in the near future, while mandolin player and new father Mick Stevenson, who co-owns Dad’s Sandwich Shop on S and 13th streets, stayed behind with part-time snare drummers Beau James Brown and Shea Trumbauer.

As an eight piece, Blvd Park gigged relentlessly and endeared Sacramento with its classic, warm bluegrass and folk style. And at times, the band adds a lively bit of swing and gospel soul, courtesy the vocal tag-team of Suttie and Waterfield. Vocalist and guitarist Ballentine’s raspy voice often crackles with emotion, expressing his lyrics like an old storyteller as banjo, mandolin and trumpet function as the main characters.

Blvd Park is a complete, unique band.

“Everybody’s on good terms,” says Ballentine, who will be getting the band back together Thursday for two shows. Still, he says the core remains and will keep the band alive on a forthcoming West Coast tour. “We are the songwriters. We are what keeps the heart beating.”

Ballentine, Mason and Waterfield moved to Seattle this past July, while Conroy stayed behind to continue working before the big move. “Brian packed up his room in one day,” Waterfield remembers, “and we each took, like, one bag with three pairs of pants and a couple of dresses for me.

“And the dog”—called Knucklehead—she adds.

Next, Blvd Park was introduced to Torgerson, who was a female vocalist for ’80s rock band the Walkabouts. Torgerson’s house in Seattle is where the four call home while recording in her studio.

“We’re trying to form something acoustic, organic and natural, so we can just play anywhere,” Ballentine says. “I’ve always have envisioned a big, circus kind of style, gypsy-type of band that stands out more than anything else.”

Soon, the band was learning the venues and faces of Seattle, realizing that they are but one band amid a crowd of aspiring musicians that congregate daily at Pike Place Market to showcase their talents.

“Today we made a hundred dollars just playing the streets,” Ballentine says. “It’s kind of neat being new again.”

While the excitement of a new city, a new album and a new start has Blvd Park glowing, the band, which began as an idea at a barbecue campfire in the eponymous old Victorian neighborhood, will always be of Sacramento. And songs like “Swerve on,” with lyrics about Old Tavern Bar and Grill and Downtown James Brown, will always be this city’s little secrets.

“Blvd Park embodies a family kind of vibe,” Conroy says. “I’ve never been in a band where everybody’s aligned with their vision … just having a group of people that you trust and that you love so much.”
- Sacramento News & Review


On Sunday, June 27th, from 6-9 pm, Sacramento’s Curtis Park will be filled with the sounds of frolicking children, laughing adults and fantastic music, as the Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association opens its annual Music in the Park. This free concert is part of the 2010 season of events of one of the busiest neighborhood associations in the state of California.

The event is the first in a series of three summertime concerts that provide Sacramento residents with a fun, relaxing evening of community and entertainment. This year’s season opener of Music in the Park will “go green,” as economically-conscious sponsors partner with Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association (SCNA) to help make the event possible.

Music in the Park leads off with entertainment by legendary children’s composer and performer, Ken Cooper. The creator of Songs That Teach, an original curriculum-based music program, “Mister Cooper” has been using music to teach life lessons and enhance learning for the past fourteen years. His musical talent and rapport with children have made him indispensable to schools and parents throughout Sacramento. Cooper’s music, as Christie Hamm of Belle Coolidge Library says, establishes “a connection with children long after the songs are over.”

During intermission, children will have the opportunity to compete in a hula hoop contest and visit kid-friendly displays, like the one that features Red Wigglers and Trout Worms, two mainstays of Sacramento's Worm Fancy.

Up next is evening headliner Blvd Park. Founded two years ago in the Midtown Sacramento neighborhood that has become its appellation, Blvd Park offers a unique blend of swing, gospel, R&B, folk, and rock. The band is the brainchild of Sacramentan Brian Ballentine, and its uptempo swing and lush ballads are performed on guitar, trumpet, double bass, violin, and sometimes banjo and snare drum. After strong critical reception of Bell Tower Mansion, its first album, the band is set to record its second, which is being produced by the Walkabouts’ Carla Torgerson. As the Monterey County Weekly said, "The bluesy sound of the Sacramento-based swingsters Blvd Park is aged well beyond the years of any of its eight members.”

The band has been delighting audiences throughout Northern California with a blend of hip swing and lyric soul that’s proven impossible to sit still for. As one of its members says, “We are in love with the art form of creating and performing music.” Blvd Park will share their love with all who attend the kick-off to this year’s Music in the Park. - Sacramento Press

"Good news for fans of sensentive folk pop – Paul Brady is back with a clutch of fab new songs words"

Sometimes a band’s self image – or at least how it talks about itself – can be way off the mark. For instance, BLVD Park describe themselves as a "spaghetti western folk band". Before I heard them I had expected some second-hand, if not second-rate, Ennio Morricone schtick with some lonesome prairie whistles and a bit of whip-cracking.

The music they make is something entirely different. The songs appear to be laid down as close to live in the studio as is possible. There’s none of the gloss or studio trickery we’ve now come to expect from a modern recording. This LP could have been made 30 years ago and would have sounded exactly the same. The songs have a looseness that speaks to a love of old school southern rock, absorbed through a filter of alt-country.

It’s almost as if Crazy Horse and Richmond Fontaine had got it on one night and this was the result. The playing has that easy, muscular shrug. Even in the more hesitant passages, there’s an assured feel to proceedings. Brian Ballentine’s gruff voice rasps over the top of the bustling guitars. And then, as if they’ve been parachuted in from a Mamas and Papas record, Elise Suttie and Tekla Waterfield-Austin appear, with backing vocals almost too angelic for words.
- Hot Press


Still working on that hot first release.



Voted Top 5 out of over 200 Sacramento area bands in KCRA's 2010 A-List awards as well as being nominated for a Sacramento Area Music Award in the category of Most Outstanding Folk Band, Blvd Park is a beloved, homegrown kind of group.

Brian Ballentine is backed by sweet, near-constant harmonies, both female and male (Tekla Waterfield, Jarrett Mason and Timothy Conroy) with the frequent switching of back to lead (each member takes a turn or two as lead). Acoustic guitar, trumpet, double bass, banjo, snare drum, fiddle, melodica and fife complete the picture.

Blvd Park has been influenced by friends, family, life experiences, and many genres of music; in particular gypsy and folk.