Turn it Down: From Dansville to Nashville with Seth Rentfrow

Lansing-area native returns for gig with Kyle Daniel

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Saturday, Feb. 8 @ The Loft, 414 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing. All ages, $12, 7 p.m.

This weekend, when the Nashville-based Kyle Daniel headlines The Loft, fans of the emerging Americana-rock band will see a familiar face next to Daniel: Seth Rentfrow. From 2005 to 20016, Rentfrow, now 28, cut his teeth in Lansing’s music scene fronting Way to Fall. The Dansville native now lives in Nashville, working as a not only the guitarist for Kyle Daniel’s band, but also its tour manager, music director and songwriting collaborator.

Looking back, how do you view Lansing’s music scene?

It felt like there was so much happening around us and the bands that were coming up were doing really interesting things. The Hard Lessons, Joe Hertler, Elliot Street Lunatic and so many others. I really learned a lot about community and how we’re supposed to uplift and inspire the artists around us.

How did you wind up living in Nashville?

I started playing with a country project (Bear Creek Brothers), which was way out of my comfort zone. My friends needed a player and the money was good. One thing led to another, and we ended up moving to Nashville to see if we could do the damn thing. I started to find my voice as a songwriter in Nashville. I discovered a whole new musical aesthetic.

Americana music became your thing, why so?

I feel so at home in it because it feels like the punk cousin of my Top 40 Country friends. One thing I’ve learned here, and as I’ve matured, is that pop music needs counter-culture just as much as counter-culture needs pop. One without the other just creates a world of one-dimensional expression. I used to be bitter about the pop world, now I embrace it.

You met Kentucky-native Kyle Daniel at a songwriter’s round in Nashville. What’s kept you together?

He and I have a very yin-yang type of relationship. We balance each other out very well. We push each other to embrace differing ideas or styles. We also both fully understand what this project is and what it should be. It’s about the song. It’s about the musical atmosphere. It’s about the live performance and how it elevates the other two.

The tunes are Southern, honest and soulful. Where does that come from?

We all bring our own flavor to it. Everybody in the band comes from different backgrounds and places. It’s like a big ol’ pot of Jambalaya. We’ve got classically trained musicians, songwriters, jam-band guys. We have guys from Sweden, Louisiana, Kentucky and Michigan. Plus, we try to draw as much inspiration as we can from the places we go and people we meet.

Where have you toured?

In year one, we were able to touch Texas three times, hit most of the Southeast and Northeast and play shows at some iconic venues in London and Germany. Being able to share stages with icons like Marshall Tucker Band and Charlie Daniels—and with friends like Cadillac Three, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Black Stone Cherry—it’s been amazing. We’re hitting it hard the next few months all over the Northeast and Southeast. Hopefully going out West, too. We’re headed back to Europe for the Country 2 Country Festival in Berlin and London where we’ll be performing with Luke Combs and Eric Church.

How many recordings do you have so far?

We’ve done two EPs and a single so far with more in the works. Our latest EP is called “What’s There To Say?” All the tunes are very close to my heart and really showcase the shared narrative Kyle and I have created together through honesty and vulnerability in songwriting, which is something the world needs more of these days.

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