Meet Thayer Sarrano! This singer-songwriter recently released her newest album on March 29th called Wings Alleluia via The Guildwater Group.
“You know sometimes you can just feel another world at the same time, maybe it is some higher self or just being more connected,” asks the Athens, GA-based singer rhetorically about the inspiration for her new album Wings Alleluia.
Deeply poetic and musically pastoral, her fourth album is an exploration of textures and melodies reinforcing the title that Americana UK bestowed upon her as “The New Queen of Shoegaze.”
Check out the video for her single “Grace Goes On”: HERE.
“Grace Goes On” opens with an odd reverb-heavy twinkling instrument that sounds almost celestial before launching into a rhythm-heavy pop track. “That instrument is a Chimeatron,” she laughs. “It was in a room at [Let’s Active founder] Mitch Easter’s studio, The Fidelitorium, where Drew Vandenberg (who also engineered 2012’s Lift Your Eyes to the Hills) and I made the record. It’s this little old, beautiful tiny thing. I think there are hammers inside that hit bells and it has a tube amp in it.”
The song itself is about cycles and how life tends to repeat itself. “I had the groove for a while and knew its meaning had something to do with circles and cycles, because that was the feeling the riff was showing me,” she explains. “It made me wonder if I am ever learning or making progress when you feel like any moment you are right back where you started, just like in a video game where you have to repeat levels to move ahead.”
Since 2009, Sarrano has released three LPs and toured heavily, headlining tours in the US and Europe, as well as supporting Drive-By Truckers, Television, Robyn Hitchcock, Camper Van Beethoven, Cracker, Nicole Atkins, The Whigs, she has also been a featured guest vocalist at a Big Star’s Third show in Athens amongst other things. In the studio, she has shared songwriter in the rounds with Patterson Hood (DBTs), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Dave Marr (Star-Room Boys) and others. Her songs have been featured on network television, in the Netherlands’ Groninger Museum, and she won the Flagpole Music Award for Music Video of the Year (2016) for “Shaky.” Last October, she released a 7 inch with a book of drawings for the stand alone track, “I Will Never Be Used to Your Beauty,” with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will” as its b-side, featuring producer and artist Andy Lemaster.
Learn more about Thayer Sarrano in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I am back and forth between Nashville and Athens, GA right now, about to play album release shows this weekend and rehearsing with my band.
Now that we are well into the 3rd month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far? What are some goals that you have for this year? How are those New Years Resolutions going?
I’m thankful for this year!
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I’ve played music my whole life and it has always been at the center of everything for me.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what could you see yourself doing? nah just music.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
i think like all the good things in life, you just keep showing up everyday and doing your best and get to be surprised by all kinds of things/opportunities that often seem out of the blue or from a place you never expected.
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live now?
athens is a great place to make music because it’s such a supportive and small town with amazing bands and people. so you are constantly inspired and can easily collaborate in all kinds of ways.
Let’s talk about your new album, “Wings Alleluia.” What was it like putting this collection together? How would you say that you approached the process of making it versus your previous 3 albums? What has changed about your songwriting style?
I am always just writing the songs I hear in my head, and I think that is always expanding the more I play, the more people I play with or see, the more records I add to my subconcious, the more things that happen to me. I don’t really see a difference in songwriting, maybe slightly more involved arrangements with the choir and stuff, and I think we are always expanding.
Can you talk about some of the musicians that you worked with on “Wings Alleluia”? How did you go about choosing them?
Marlon Patton played drums, he is a dear friend and blows my mind with his talent. The Athens Cowboy Choir and T. Hardy Morris and others are singing background vocals which was so cool.
How would you say that your already releases single “Grace Goes On” prepares listeners for the rest of your album? What was the inspiration for this particular song?
I had the groove for a while and knew its meaning had something to do with circles and cycles, because that was the feeling the riff was showing me.
What are some songs on this collection that you are excited for people to hear? How did they come together and what was the inspiration for them?
i’m excited for people to hear the record, it has to do with transcendence and connection and space and time and love–there were times of great loss in it but also great love and grace, and it’s really positive and about life.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
i hate being in pictures and social media personally, it’s just not for me. but i deal with it by taking pictures of nature, mostly the sky, and posting them on instagram. But it is important to me to be able to connect with people, because i love them.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Neil young and crazy horse, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave…
Where can fans see you perform next?
I’m not sure when people are reading this, but we are on tour, beginning this friday in athens for our album release party. dates are always current up on my website, thayersarrano.com
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
i hope to contribute more love and light to the world, and i want people to take away whatever they need from the music.