Sometimes it can be hard to figure out where a band’s name comes from — that’s not the case with The Real Sarahs.
The three women in this Boonville-based band are all named Sarah, and their music is as real as it gets: authentic, raw and forthright.
“We really come from our hearts,” said band founder Sarah Larkin, 41, who began singing as a 3-year-old in church. “We are very honest and open people and I think that really comes through in our music.”
The band’s original songs, such as “Hard to Be a Woman,” Larkin said, directly talk about their personal experiences, emotions and journeys.
“We just put ourselves out there on stage.”
The Real Sarahs play with Viva La Reve and Jon Gonzales Friday, April 27, at the HopMonk in Sebastopol.
The band members often sing in three-part harmony.
“There’s something about women’s vocal harmony that is super evocative for the listener,” Larkin said.
The Three Sarahs use a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, made by Ear Trumpet Labs, that allows their voices to blend in the air before going to a soundboard and through the speakers.
“It just creates this real pure sound. I think that’s something that’s really greater than all of us,” Larkin said by phone during a tour in Washington state earlier this month.
“Our audience can really plug in with us and get that buzz. They feel it, and we feel it. It becomes like this loop of energy.”
The Real Sarahs began as a duo, about five years after Larkin and Sarah Ryan were asked by a mutual friend to perform at the Anderson Valley Variety Show at the grange hall near Boonville.
“From the moment Sarah Larkin and I met,” said Ryan, who’s in the habit of using her bandmates’ full names to avoid confusion, “we just had this very family-like connection, very sisterly.”
Ryan grew up around music — her father was a blues musician who died of cancer around the time she and Larkin formed The Real Sarahs.
“The first song I ever wrote was a tribute to him,” Ryan said. “His death was kind of an inspiration for me to really follow my dreams. He was a musician and always felt like he hadn’t fulfilled his dreams, by having a family and a career instead.”
Ryan, 37, is a single mother with a 12-year-old daughter. After going through a separation and divorce recently, she’s more committed than ever to music.
“I definitely use music as a form of therapy,” she said. “When I have something really intense happen in my life, like the death of my father or a breakup or good things, too, that’s usually how I process intense emotions, by writing a song.”
Now that The Real Sarahs’ circle is growing, Ryan feels more responsibility as a folksinger, and her music is getting more political.
“I started writing more social commentary and taking my own emotions and making them more universal,” she said.
The Real Sarahs’ new album, an EP, is called “Headed for the Hills” and speaks to current political issues, but doesn’t single out specific targets.
Who: The Real Sarahs with Jon Gonzales and Viva La Reve
When: 8:45 p.m. Friday, April 27
Where: HopMonk Abbey, 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol
Information: 707-829-7300, hopmonk.com/sebastopol