Spacious synthesizers, swelling guitars, and an understated vocal delivery come together in a hypnotic and ethereal trance to fill the landscape that is
dream country sound....
It is a vision of a boundless neon sky at the intersection of a country highway on the horizon. Through these sounds, Manuel tells us stories of his family and memories of his upbringing as he reckons with the brevity of life in relation to those to whom we are closest. Nostalgic chords with a modern sound in the song “Family” have us remembering our family gatherings for better or for worse. His song “Hold on Tight” has us meditating on how brief each phase of life is. The surging “Love That’ll Last Forever” gives us courage and hope for what might be. Up the Ridge, released July 2016, was written while singer-songwriter, Austin Manuel, was living at his grandparents’ house in the country north of his hometown, Nashville. His grandmother had passed and his grandfather was in assisted living with dementia. Manuel was asked to move in to keep the grass trimmed and the house warmed. The home that had been filled with family members since his mother was a child was now vacant. Manuel spent the summer and winter following his grandmother’s death with memories at her kitchen table writing the songs and exploring the nature of sounds that comprise the compelling Up The Ridge.
His first single, “I Just Want You to Love Me,” reached the U.S. Viral 50 and the Global Viral 50 charts on Spotify. Other key tracks such as “I Could See Me Needing Her” and “Sue in Blue” show hints of inspired sounds from Beach House to Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. The narrative of Up The Ridge unfolds slowly in each song, and churns to a well-paced crescendo. His dream country becomes the meeting point of a bucolic life and engaged artistry and has garnered respect from touring companions, Escondido and Kopecky, whose members co-produced and contributed performances to the record. Up The Ridge is an entrancing album showcasing songs of ghostly countrysides, limitless skies, and homespun ingenuity.
"It’s rare that a song strikes so perfect a balance between foreboding and sensual, but Thayer Sarrano gets it just right on “Shaky,” the title track from her new album. The tune is a study in contrasts, pitting hard edges against the soft allure of suggestion as Sarrano wraps her whispery drawl around a flat, forceful rhythm while vaporous tendrils of steel guitar float past."
- Paste Magazine
"Sarrano can morph from angel to devil in the same song. The looming atmosphere of dread and submission conjured on Shaky turns over a new page in Southern Gothic storytelling" —Pop Matters
"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."
"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
“Pitting a murky, ominous, lumbering arrangement against her ethereal voice, with its consciously mysterious dearth of affect, Sarrano crafts a sound that is hauntingly eerie. Bringing this palette to a canvas that includes country, psych, Southern Gothic, even industrial, it’s easy to imagine her scoring True Detective‘s first season.”
– Elmore Magazine
"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!”
"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. Sarrano's sound stems mainly from her eclectic background. She was raised in a monastic seminary, then coastal/swampland in South Georgia, classically trained as a child and wrote instrumental compositions and poetry. She merged into a songwriter when she attended art school in the vibrant musical community of Athens, GA and began to collaborate with friends to form her band, as well as establish herself as a studio/touring session player (Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, T. Hardy Morris, Dave Marr, David Barbe, Of Montreal, Kuroma...). Debut album, King was released in 2009 dubbing her “The new Queen of Shoegaze” by Americana UK Magazine.
The follow up LP, Lift Your Eyes to the Hills (2012), 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.
Her latest release, Shaky, was described by The Huffington Post as, "A potent examination of grace and perseverance amidst loss and melancholia." Sarrano's honest, painted lyrics weave the mystical with personal experiences. We start to believe that these seemingly abstract visions are real, 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 mysterious 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.