Thayer Sarrano


“Like shoegazing with a twang, but there’s a maximalist epic thing going on, too. It’s rare that a singer is able to balance synthesizers with a slow, Southern vocal palette, and it’s almost like inventing a new language of song. Well, here it is, and it’s gorgeous!” – FlyPaper

“… a tour de force of Gothic Americana…We love it.” – Big Takeover

“The New Queen of Shoegaze” – Americana UK

“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 Athens, GA-based THAYER SARRANO 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.”

“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.”

 

The follow-up to 2015’s Shaky, Wings Alleluia displays the layered tapestry she musically weaves that Huffington Post called “a Southern-psych dreamland, bottling up ghosts and bringing them to life through her ethereal hymns.” From the moody opening track “O My Soul” that tickles the lower registers while Thayer’s otherworldly vocals soars above, to the guitar-led meditation “These Arms” which traipses over a backwoods-ian twang, to the dramatic “White Shores”, the album exists on an almost transcendental level, a mindset that she subscribes to. Thayer explains, “I’ll be dealing with whatever is happening in front of me or the emotion of a beautiful or terrible situation, and the lyrics that I’ll get for some reason usually tend to come more from the abstract higher place because it provides more clarity.”

 

A multi-instrumentalist – she is a classically-trained pianist and also plays pedal steel guitar, oboe, and percussion, Thayer has been composing instrumentals since she was a child while also feeding her visual creative outlet through paintings, drawings and sculpture.  Uniquely finding lyrical inspirations from her own artwork, it allows her to tap into her emotions and internal dialogue better than writing a linear storyline. “I have always done a lot of paintings and drawings – sometimes little sculptures – that help me translate something,” she explains. “For this album, there were a lot of fragments of drawings that would help me create a lyric, so my sketchbook is filled with drawings that inspired lyrics throughout the album.”

Since 2009, she has released three LPs and toured heavily, headlining tours in the US and Europe, as well as supporting Drive-By TruckersTelevisionRobyn HitchcockCamper Van BeethovenCrackerNicole AtkinsThe 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.

Her new LP will be released on March 29, 2019 and features the Athens Cowboy ChoirT. Hardy MorrisJustin CollinsParker GispertBilly Bennet, and more on backing vocals.