Opera House: Seryn Returns For Holiday Encore
“I first saw Seryn play in a tiny restaurant/club in Austin, TX. The room couldn’t contain their passion and energy. They have that rare ability to work out extremely sophisticated musical arrangements, but deliver them with such intensity that it all feels spontaneous and organic. I love how they are able to view their music on multiple levels — constructing beautifully flowing concerts with transitions and drama, much like the dynamic arrangements within the individual songs,” Brian Eyster, marketing director, Planet Bluegrass
Red dirt mixes with bright lights, tinsel and evergreen when Denton, Texas band Seryn returns to town to perform Sunday, December 28, 8:30 p.m. at the historic Sheridan Opera House. The show is part of a killer Holiday Concert Series that also includes Trombone Shorty, Shawn Colvin and on New Year’s Eve, Wynonna (Judd) and The Big Noise.
“What’s in a name?”
Quoted in an article in The Herald Palladium, Nathan Allen, Seryn’s guitarist and a group founder, explained the band’s name twins with concepts like “serenity,” “serenade,” and “serendipity” and enjoys a halo effect from all three:
“…It evokes the meanings of other words, but not any one word. We really were just thinking of the sound of it, of course no one knows how to pronounce it. It’s like serenity without the ity part. … Look, band names suck in general so we just wanted something that had little connotation. I mean, I don’t know what a Coldplay is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want one.”
And in fact, Seryn did come together through serendipity.
In 2009, Allen and vocalist/ukulele Trenton Wheeler decided they were over school and wanted to start a band. And why not? At the time, Denton’s lo-fi sound, a mix of Southern twang and experimental indie-rock had garnered a big, eclectic following that stretched from alt-country diehards and the college radio audience to MySpace fans and Euro-trash clubbers. Back in the day, more than 100 bands were honing their sound in the city’s many venues: dive bars, rooftops, the basements of frat houses, even a record store.
Before he would green-light the project, however, Allen insisted on inserting estrogen into the mix, a girl who could sing harmony and play strings and poof!, violinist/percussionist Chelsea Bohrer appeared on the scene.
When the trio performed its first show, upright bassist/vocalist Aaron Stoner and drummer/banjoist Chris Semmelbeck were in the audience.
Since Seryn played Telluride Bluegrass in 2012, the band continued to experience more pretty significant changes, with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Moscoso, drummer Jordan Rochefort, and violinist Scarlett Deering replacing departing members Chelsea Bohrer, Carlo Canlas, and Chris Semmelbeck. Still the foundation of Seryn –Wheeler, Allen, and Stoner – kept the band rock solid, moving forward, and continuing to develop and hone the expansive, well-layered sound they debuted on their first record, This Is Where We Are.
Over the past two years, Seryn racked up miles on the road, appearing on stages as disparate as Telluride Bluegrass, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons, CO, Mariposa Folk Festival, Festival D’Ete de Quebec, and countless others from coast to coast. They have also completed work on their sophomore album produced by the band and Midlake drummer McKenzie Smith (who also hails from Denton), scheduled for release in early 2015.
The upcoming new release marks a progression of Seryn’s overall sound toward even denser arrangements and more electric and “rock” instrumentation, but those familiar with the band will recognize that the primary elements of its sound – particularly the strong, powerful harmonies and flowing arrangements – are still central to its music.
Still, Seryn’s sound is not easily defined: What may first appear as straight folk songs later transcend into noisy walls of sound, or almost film score soundscapes. But in the end, it’s all about the blend. The beauty of Seryn comes down to seamless harmonies. Words like “soaring” and yes, “serene” are adjectives the group has used to describe itself. The term “Folk-Pop” has been thrown around and maybe it loosely fits, but why not decide for yourself when Seryn takes the acoustically perfect Opera House stage.
To learn more, check out my chat with guitarist/founder Nathan James Allen.
About the Telluride Arts District:
The historic Sheridan Opera House is a key player in the Telluride Arts District.
We believe in a culture of the Arts—creativity across disciplines—and we strive to sustain, promote and expand all creative pursuits in our mountain community. Anchored on the west by the Palm Theatre, the south by the Ah Haa School for the Arts, the north by the Telluride Historical Museum and the east by the Town Park Stage, the district contains world-class exhibits, music, film, theatre, literature, architecture, design, food, and artists of all disciplines
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