Photos By David Rubene
The Plott Hounds lineup has done some shuffling recently and Twin Cities Media was able to get a few questions in with their addition on keys, Zach Sershon.
How did you meet The Plott Hounds?
I was in another band for a while, we played a show at Mill City Nights and it was a big fundraiser thing with a bunch of bands. The Plott Hounds were one of the bands that opened. I think they were the first band, actually, and I got a chance to hear their sound; I thought it was pretty cool. There aren’t a lot of country-rock bands in general, especially in town. There’s plenty of country-pop, but definitely not like the Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feet kind of sound they are and what we are going for. So it perked (sic) my interest right away, Noah actually got a chance to hear me play, so it was kind of like a free audition and we kept in touch. When I ended up leaving my old band I let him know right away, and it all worked out pretty good.
You touched on this a little bit, but what ultimately drew you to The Plott Hounds?
It was mainly the potential in the sound that I heard. I am a big fan of classic 70’s country rock bands like, obviously, Lynyrd Skynyrd, but also lesser-known bands like Mountain and Little Feet. That sound to me just kind of went away, the only modern bands that do that is a band called Blackberry Smoke. I’m a big fan of those guys. There’s a certain kind of piano playing in that kind of music and I was always a big fan, but I never got to do anything with it. So I saw those guys and loved the sound they were going for. I’m having a lot of fun right now arranging with those guys.
Can you describe that kind of piano/keyboard playing you talked about?
It’s kind of a mix between honky-tonk and country. It’s kind of country-rock. There’s a little bit of blues in it, but it’s also pretty technically proficient, very clean. Some of my favorite players are guys like Billy Powell and Billy Preston. Those guys have a really nice harmonic style. I really enjoy it and I’ve always liked playing it and The Plott Hounds really give me the chance to indulge in that style.
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Who else influences you?
I am influenced by a really wide range. I’m in a lot of country bands, but I’m actually really into classical music and prog rock. I really like Kansas, YES and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Keith Emerson is probably my biggest influence. It’s all over the board, Jazz guys like Art Tatum, a new guy named Corey Henry. I try to dip my toes in everything and there are so many genres that I enjoy that I try not to limit myself to one.
What do you think you will be bringing to The Plott Hounds?
Well, what I try to specialize in, and I think most keyboarders do this, I try to fill out the sound and I would say enriching or enhancing – not to sound self-serving. I am actually an arranger. I do a lot of composition myself, classical music, music for films and video games. I also sing harmonies, so my expertise is taking something and filling it out musically. I use two keyboards; I play electric piano, piano, clav. And all kinds of stuff. The album was written by them, and then I just came in and added stuff on top. Noah said pretty much to do whatever you feel because [he] trust[s] [my] instinct. So everything you hear me do on the album is me coming in and doing one take and just feeling it out. I’m looking forward to figuring my place out in the sound and we’re working on that a lot. We have a lot of good players; I’m pretty excited about the band right now in terms of players.
What do you think is next for The Plott Hounds?
I think that The Plott Hounds are starting to get a lot of momentum in town. I can say from experience that we all want to keep writing; we are not done writing at all. In fact, we are just getting started. It’s kind of our joke in the band that the band got finished as soon as the album was done. We’ve had a lot of people, our singer left, the steel guitar player left; they brought in the slide guitar player, Colin, just like me. They brought in a new drummer. So when you see us now it’s pretty much an all-new cast and we all have our own style to bring to the table and we are all thinking about what we are going to do next. I would just say you should come out and see a show; we’re working on getting some good country rock and working on some new material.
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