Emery frontman Devin Shelton has one of those southern accents that makes the ladies swoon. He’s a Christian who loves country music and his home state of South Carolina. But that's where any similarities to Nashville stars stop. After graduating college in 2001, Shelton and his bandmates went to Seattle to pursue their music. Eight years and five records later, Emery — singer and bassist Toby Morell, guitarist Matt Carter, keyboardist and percussionist Josh Head, and drummer Dave Powell — aren't showing any signs of slowing down. Their latest album, In Shallow Seas We Sail, takes the band back to its roots while showcasing its evolution. Shelton takes a break from touring — they play Peabody's on Monday — to talk about the new album and Emery’s future as country-music hitmakers. —Brittany Moseley
How is In Shallow Seas We Sail different from your past records?
I think it’s different, but in the sense that it’s like a compilation of all of our records. I think it’s a good representation of who we are as a band, and who we’ve been — how we’ve been growing and maturing in our music over the years. It encompasses all that we’ve ever written.
The album sounds stylistically and musically more mature. Was that something you guys made a conscious effort to do?
We felt like we wanted to get back to our roots and really show who we are as a band again. That’s just how it happened. We had three or four ideas, and we just wrote them and recorded them for the EP. And it came out more mature and aggressive in a sense. That’s the thing we had going as we went in to writing the new record. We just wanted to keep that intensity and keep that maturity in our music.
Have your southern roots influenced your music?
I definitely think so. We grew up on country, and a lot of us like southern gospel because we grew up in church. I think those types of harmonies and those types of lyrics — country’s more about getting drunk with your friends and your dog died, but there’s still some sort of pop sensibility to it. We feel like we derived that kind of idea from those things. It might not sound like country or sound like southern type of music, but we definitely get inspiration from those things just because we think there’s good elements in every type of music. It might not be everybody’s favorite style, but there are definitely elements of it that we can take from it and use for our own music.
So there’s no country album in Emery’s future?
We would love to. It’s a dream. Toby and myself, we’ve been writing some country songs and we’ve gotten lists of people who are taking songs in. Every time we get a list we try to write three or four country songs to send in just to see if they can use them. If that doesn’t work out maybe we could just write our own album and be a country band. It wouldn’t be Emery, but it would be something else.