Hardy and The Hardknocks and Friends Summer Rooftop Residency
Thayer Sarrano, Dave Marr
Thu · June 15, 2017
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
This event is 21 and overhttp://www.georgiatheatre.com/event/1492690/
Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop
Album Notes By Patterson Hood, April 2015
“Love is a language with no subtitles"
Like ideas, the best songs are the simple ones. And like most simple ideas, they’re usually far more complex upon further examination than they seem at first.
So many young songwriters start off looking for the most complex way possible to examine a simple truth. Perhaps to seem smarter, or more “mature”. The better songwriters learn - hopefully before too much embarrassment - that the complex thought simply put is the key to a great song. Distilling that subtle truth down to its very essence and expressing it in a way that cuts through the bullshit and takes the listener by the heart into the depths of the intended emotion.
“I ain’t never giving back the things I took”
I caught the line on about my third listen, busy as I was doing things around the house while the new album played loud in the next room. I’ve known Hardy a while. His long running band Dead Confederate played some of their earliest shows opening for Drive-By Truckers several years ago. I always liked them but probably didn’t delve deep enough into what they were doing to listen closely to the songs. That all changed when Hardy was about to release his debut solo album (2013’s fantastic Audition Tapes) and I saw him play a couple of times around Athens. I was immediately blown away. Every time I’d see or hear him, I’d hear something new. Great songs keep getting better the more you listen to them.
“I ain’t never taking back the things I said”
Which leads us to the new one, Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop. If Hardy’s solo debut was a high and lonesome mellow-roast with musical touchstones like Harvest-era Neil Young and driving down a windy back road alone, the new one blasts out of the garage like some high-octane muscle car full of friends, blasting Mott The Hoople on the way to the last-call dive bar. It has it’s very own sound, but hits me in the same places as my favorite Replacements albums - stripped down and raw, yet sonically thrilling.
“Tell me how you like it, I’ll fix you up
Don’t you know home has cleaner cups”
The music is propelled by The Hardknocks. Vaughan Lamb and Nick Sterchi are a rock solid rhythm section, pushing it forward while never over-playing or detracting. That rare thing known as A songwriter’s rhythm section. Serious praise has to go to Hardy’s long time pedal steel player. Matt “Pistol” Stoessel, a veteran of Athens GA’s incredible music scene for many years. Pistol really shines in this band, providing both a melodic counter-point to Hardy’s formidable melodies and serving as the glue that holds all the elements together. The album all manages to be stripped down and raw yet sonically thrilling.
"Cuz I’m leaving now and coming back never
You can’t kill time without hurting forever
Cuz no one knows when I’m around
but it gets quieter when I leave town”
All of which leads me back to where I started, the wonderful last song on the album where the beat drops down to a slow waltz and the pedal steel swirls and the leading man sings…
“Just like the movies our eyes met
and just like the movies by the end they were wet
Just like in the movies I can’t catch each word
but love is a language with no subtitles”
"there is an aura of “southern gothic” via twangy guitars, deep woodsy echoes and a rhythm like cautiously trudging through those woods. But she also exudes a patina of the urban, opiatic tenor of ’90s gaze-girls like Opal or Mazzy Star." - CMJ
"A siren of the cypress swamp, Athens, Georgia’s Thayer Sarrano beckons you into the darkness on the throbbing “Touch My Face.” Evoking the mystical side of Stevie Nicks, overdriven guitars guide the listener through meandering paths that follow Sarrano’s smoky coos to what one can only hope is a mystical communion.” - Bucketful of Nails
"Thayer Sarrano is a force to be reckoned with in the ever-fertile Athens, Georgia scene, having worked as a touring and session musician with Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven, T. Hardy Morris, of Montreal, Dave Marr, Kuroma, and David Barbe, among numerous others. This haunting track is taken from her upcoming third album, Shaky, a tour de force of Gothic Americana...We love it."- Big Takeover
Thayer Sarrano is forging her own path into a southern- psych-dreamland, bottling up ghosts and bringing them to life through her ethereal desert rock hymns. The tones tremble and bend, layered in swirling atmospherics. The angelic voice will pull you in close to share devastatingly beautiful and heart-breaking secrets, while shadowy figures dance in the background. This is music that envelops the listener and may transport you to another world or time. A magical place that is melancholic and haunting, yet bursting with heavenly light.
With her latest release, Shaky, The Athens, GA multi-instrumentalist sounds, more than ever, like where she is from. She grew up in a monastery and then the swamp in southern, coastal Georgia. Classically trained as a child, awakened by Grunge in the 90s, with chanting forever in her subconscious, she had always written instrumental compositions and poetry. Songwriting came when she landed in the vibrant musical community of Athens, GA and began to collaborate with friends to form her own band, as well as establish herself as a studio/touring session player (Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, T. Hardy Morris, of Montreal, Dave Marr, David Barbe, many more). Debut album, King was released in 2009 dubbing her “The new Queen of Shoegaze” - Americana UK. The sparse and raw album was recorded live in her living room in one day. Her follow up LP, Lift Your Eyes to the Hills , (2012), enters more complex arrangements and features the single “The Bend,“ written for Groninger Museum, The Netherlands, leading to consistent European touring. The record was produced by Thayer and Hank Sullivant (Kuroma, MGMT), and was an independent release as a charitable campaign for Nuci’s Space’s teenage rock camp, “Camp Amped,” of which Thayer is passionately affiliated. “Featuring heavily spiritual themes, it could have collapsed under it’s own weight, but ‘Hill’s manages to maintain a startling lightness of being.“ -Flagpole Magazine. Now, with Shaky, we see Sarrano at her bravest and most vulnerable.
Written in an unstable period of much loss, Shaky is still a record of grace and perseverance. The honest, painted lyrics weave the mystical with personal experiences. But to Thayer, it’s all real. “I’ll feel like I have to just make this quilt out of these patches of visions I’ve collected and then suddenly the song is finished and I realize it’s all true…” We start to believe her that these seemingly abstract visions are really happening, and in this other world we see pictures we can relate to. Pictures of dissolving relationships in “Crease”, "your memory unties my cells/ it breaks the line from your heart to mine…” Of the elusive in title track, "I trace your echo I follow your lead/ you’re shaky shaky but you settle me.” Of the search for something greater in “Glimpses,” “there’s a world at the same time as this one/it’s bright it trembles it glistens,” and of the beautiful ether in “Lost Art,” “their hands are open, call to the wild/ layer landscapes, breaking the sky/ I remember them from when I was a child/ it’s the same little image from inside my eyes…“
Dovetailing the thick twang of the country with the airy, echoing, spacious feeling of an empty church, Sarrano has carved out a pocket in which her otherworldly music has room to breathe. Or perhaps the pocket was already there and Sarrano stumbled upon it, becoming a vector for something deep and soulful and strange. Regardless, once you’ve stepped into that pocket with her, you’re bound to want to return.
215 N. Lumpkin St
Athens, GA, 30601