She's pretty, he's gritty.

Together, Sarah Wolff and Blaine Heinonen are the dynamic duo known as Pretty Gritty. The Montgomery County, Md., natives perform what they call "soulful Americana," and will bring their unique musical style to the Sentient Bean on June 1.

"We kind of morphed into this sound," Wolff says. "It works. It's very natural and comfortable."

Each started out with different bands, but crossed paths at open-mic nights, where they realized they shared an interest in writing and performing songs that mix country, rock, blues and soul.

Pretty Gritty has opened for Josh Gracin and Larry the Cable Guy, and performed on the main stage of the national competition We R Indie in Knoxville, Tenn. They also advanced to the second round of the Texaco Country Showdown.

The duo is on a self-funded tour of the country. This is their first time in Savannah.

"Last summer, we did two weeks in Colorado," Wolff says. "We decided we wanted to try the whole summer touring around the country.

"We've never been to Savannah and everybody says it's a great place to play," she says. "The Sentient Bean seems like a really cool place."

Together for three years, the two came from different types of bands.

"He was in a heavy metal band and I was in a rock band," Wolff says.

"When our bands broke up, we decided to do the acoustic thing," she says. "A friend suggested we do the John Cougar Mellencamp song 'Wild Night' together. Through that, we learned these harmonies sound kind of cool."

The two grew up in Montgomery County, Md.

"My parents signed me up for band at age 8," Wolff says. "I started on the flute and did the school band thing.

"In high school, I switched to percussion," she says. "I wanted to learn how to play guitar, and I played bass for a rock band for three to four years."

"I got signed up for band in the fourth grade," Heinonen says. "I start playing the saxophone and gravitated to drums and played in a couple of garage bands.

"A couple of friends asked if I wanted to learn how to play the guitar," he says. "I played in a metal band for 10 years and from there, wanted to sing."

Heinonen loves all kinds of music.

"I sang in choirs and I used to sing Boyz II Men in the shower," he says.

"But when you're in a metal band, you have to keep up a certain image," Heinonen says. "I grew up on bluegrass and country, but I wasn't at a point in my life where I could be as open about it."

Within the first year they started playing together, the two started writing their own songs.

"We wanted to learn a bunch of covers and do bar gigs," Wolff says.

"We both were in original bands, but I was not a writer, I just came up with the bass lines," she says. "We started changing the arrangements and it sparked something, so we ended up writing."

Just about anything inspires a song.

"Usually chicks - for me, anyway," Heinonen says.

"It doesn't really have to be that deep sometimes," Wolff says. "It really can be anything."

In Savannah, Pretty Gritty will play both originals and covers.

"We do everything from Smokey Robinson to Adele to Old Crow Medicine Show," Heinonen says. "We hope everyone comes out and has a good time."


What: Pretty Gritty

When: 8 p.m. June 1

Where: The Sentient Bean, 13 E. Park Ave.

Cost: Free