Seattle’s Sera Cahoone has a unique way of approaching her Americana-inflected tunes — from behind a drum kit.
The singer-songwriter has been drumming since she was 11 and has hit the road with groups like Band of Horses and Carissa’s Wierd, but with her third solo album, Deer Creek Canyon, she steps into the spotlight on her own.
Featuring delicate, earthy vocals paired with a down-home country feel, Cahoone’s “Nervous Wreck” stands out on the album for its seemingly opposing themes. She seems ambivalent to the world while life goes on around her in the form of a lighthearted melody.
Check out what Cahoone had to say to CMT Edge about the dual nature of her song, and stick around for the world premiere of her toe-tapping “Nervous Wreck” video.
What was on your mind when you wrote “Nervous Wreck”?
Cahoone: Well, the name kind of says it all. I’m kind of socially awkward. I wrote this song loosely based on being out at a party and there are a lot of people — people I don’t really want to talk to — and all I want to do is to go home because sometimes people make me nervous.
The video made me smile. How did you find the couples who dance in it?
The producer Ryan McMackin actually found most of the people in the video. He’s a pretty brilliant guy! A lot of them frequent a local country bar here in Seattle called the Little Red Hen. They were great!
After playing drums for a lot of bands, how did your own songwriting and singing become more important?
I played guitar and wrote songs since high school, but drumming was my priority. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I went on a cross-country tour of the U.S., playing drums with a band, and I was just really inspired by the landscape, the small towns. I wanted to be a little bit more creative. I needed more of an emotional outlet and wanted to explore that side of myself a little more. I wanted to push myself as a songwriter.
That led to my first album. It was self-released, and I really never expected much from it, but I mailed it in to [Seattle radio station] KEXP, thinking maybe it would get played on the local show. I was shocked to hear [morning DJ] John Richards was playing it. From there, I ended up signing with Subpop and just kept writing songs.
Especially as a young girl, what was it about the drums that seemed so cool to you?
I was always obsessed with drums since I was about 5 years old. When we were kids, my brother and I had a fake band called the Dog Dumps where I would take the cardboard rod from hangers and act like I was playing drums. He played a fake guitar made out of cardboard. We would write songs about how mean we thought our older sister was. She’s nice now, though, thankfully. I think I just liked hitting things a lot.