Fan of the blues? Punk? Jazz? Gospel? Then you’ve got to check out Seratones, closing out the Levitt AMP North Adams Music Series this coming Sunday. This genre-bending band formed in 2013, and just two years later, Seratones signed to indie label Fat Possum, which boasts an impressive roster of blues and rock artists, including The Black Keys and Al Green.
Prior to starting Seratones, guitarist Connor Davis and drummer Jesse Gabriel were friends who spent their nights attending punk rock concerts and listening to jazz records together. They had a host of other musical influences growing up—as a boy, Davis’ psychedelic rock-loving mom exposed him to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. Meanwhile lead singer AJ Haynes’ mother was a bossa nova singer in Japan. Haynes’ honed her vocal power as a young girl singing in church, where (due to its lack of microphones) she was trained to sing out and “hit the back wall.”
Living in Shreveport, La., home to an exciting live music scene bound by no genre, also may have contributed to their eclectic sound. Three of the band members were previously part of AJ Haynes and The Monkey Business—one of many local cover groups—and while they have since moved on to playing and recording original material as Seratones, some of their gritty rock covers remain in their setlist. You can watch the band perform Bowie’s “Suffragette City” (1972) in the video below.
Still an unsigned band in early 2015 despite playing electrifying shows in the evenings, Seratones’ members continued to work day jobs to pay the bills. Haynes taught high school and bassist Adam Davis was a commercial and residential painter, who confessed during a NPR interview that he was taking an extended lunch break to speak about the band. Just a few months prior to the interview, Seratones had entered NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest, a competition for unsigned, undiscovered talent. Though they didn’t win, Seratones’ do-it-yourself ethos paid off when they were invited to play a Tiny Desk Concert in April of this year. That same month, Rolling Stone named the band one of “10 Artists You Need to Know.”
As the Seratones undertakes a massive world tour, leaving for Europe as soon as they finish their coast-to-coast tour of the States, buzz around the band is only picking up. Sunday is your chance to see this powerhouse group for free, so don’t miss this show if you’ll be in the North Adams area!