For up-and-coming performers, a relaxed, outdoor concert always seems to come naturally. The music is crafted simply, and the sound rarely seems forced. For Nashville’s up-and-coming country outfit Scarletta, these kinds of shows are something the group is entirely familiar with.
“It’s a totally different playing field,” guitarist Benji Harris says. “People have picnics. It’s got that festival feeling. People like to relax and have fun, so it’s awesome to provide that kind of entertainment.”
The group will bring their back-porch, sing-along country sound to MU, performing a Student Unions Programming Board-sponsored free concert Thursday in Kuhlman Court. The group was included in Billboard’s “10 (Country) Artists to Watch in 2013,” showing its effortless harmonies were received well.
Since an eighth-grade talent show set, Harris has been invested in the musician lifestyle. His love for classic rock paved the way for how he approached a distant sound for himself.
“I loved Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Beatles, The Who, all that ’60s British invasion,” Harris says. “That’s where I drew from when I was figuring out how I wanted to sound as a musician.”
Contrary to Harris’ own roots-rock background, fiddler player Nathan Stoops wasn’t even aware of the Beatles’ existence until he turned 18. A classically-trained violinist, he hadn’t been exposed to other genres until he set up shop in Nashville.
“The interesting thing about our band is that we all come from different musical backgrounds,” Harris says. “That gives us a different, more interesting sound as a band.”
Between the addition of singer Emilee Allan, who Harris says “brings so much professionalism, while also having such a great voice,” and being engulfed in the Nashville culture for the past two years, Scarletta has grown into a more comfortable state in band chemistry.
“The city is booming and tourism is exploding, so there’s so much new energy and excitement there,” Harris says. “If we’re on the road and we say we’re a country band (from) Nashville, it gives us that recognition that the status of the city offers. It automatically leads to people taking us more seriously.
Harris also notes the difficulty of being a band immersed in a culture that holds so much competition.
“It can be intimidating because there’s so much talent in Nashville,” Harris says. “It makes you just want to become your best so you can compete with that talent.
Scarletta is sure to excel in its MU performance, with all the components that lead to a fantastic band being present for the group.
“We’ve learned how to work crowds, manage our sound, and it all leads to us becoming a better band,” Harris says.