Seryn brings its brand of Americana to Guthrie 

click to enlarge ALISA LEVY
  • ALISA LEVY

Nashville, Tennesee’s Seryn started making music while in college in Denton, Texas, so it makes sense that it has visited Oklahoma several times. Its upcoming show at Trill Tavern will be the Americana act’s first appearance in Guthrie, though.

Nathan James Allen, guitarist, said the group has gone through dramatic changes since the release of its February 2015 album Shadow Shows. For that, Seryn was six members, including two female vocalists, one of whom played violin. They moved on, and the band decided to press on as a quartet with Trenton Wheeler on guitar and lead vocals, Aaron Stoner on bass and Jordan Rochefort on drums.

“We were a little concerned about where the band was headed when Jenny [Moscoso] and Scarlett [Deering] left,” Allen said, “but I was talking to a singer-songwriter friend who offered some perspective: ‘If you can’t do a good show with four guys, you should quit music.’”

That friend plays as a solo act, which gave his words even more force. The loss of the two female members meant interesting changes for the band, not the least of which was Allen was tasked with singing the high harmonies.

“We don’t call them girl harmonies anymore,” he said. “They’re high harmonies, and I can do 80 to 85 percent of them.”

Allen also has to fill the old violin parts with guitar solos, something that works well for him. The band has gelled around the new size, and it’s on the road in support of Shadow Shows.

Touring was one of the primary reasons the group of musicians from Dallas/Fort Worth — all four grew up in the DFW metro — chose Nashville over Austin.

“Country and Western grew up in Nashville because the radio signals could reach all the way down to Miami and all the way north to New York,” Allen said. “For us, we are a day’s drive away from most of the U.S.”

That means less unbroken touring and more time at home. But their city suits them for a different reason, too.

“Nashville is bigger and smaller than where we come from,” Allen explained. “Dallas is huge, and Denton is pretty small, so Nashville is kind of the perfect size.”

Allen said the band was not worried about the wealth of talent in Nashville.

“We’re no strangers to intimidation,” he said. “The music scene in Texas is full of talent.”

It also helps that Seryn does not make Nashville country. Its pop-influenced American folk music is characterized by bright notes, harmonies and multiple instruments beyond the standard four-piece format, including ukulele, banjo and accordion. The band stands out with smart writing as well, a task shared by Allen and Wheeler.

Allusions to spiritual themes abound, and Allen said they are a byproduct of the members’ religious upbringing, the words and phrases of childhood and youth, and they do not leave lexicons easily.

“I was talking to (folk singer-songwriter) Father John Misty before he was Father John Misty,” Allen said. “He said, ‘I’m just a religious casualty.’”

The phrase stuck with Allen, and he applies it to himself while acknowledging some spiritual impulses in the music — most notably in “On My Knees” from the band’s first album This is Where We Are.

Print headline: Religious casualties, Seryn brings its brand of Americana music to Guthrie.

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Greg Horton

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