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The Upbeat: The Wrenfields

Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Name: The Wrenfields Formed: 2002 in Dearborn. Several members of the band played together during the ’90s in a band called the Miracleberries.

Sound: Country/Americana

Members: Noreen Kurowski, vocals (Dearborn); Matt O’Bryan, guitar and vocals (Dearborn); Tom Morgan, guitar and pedal steel (Pittsfield Township); Frank Budd, bass (Richmond); John Pyro, vocals and drums (Livonia).

Influences: O’Bryan says The Wrenfields draw on “a lot of the hierarchy of alt-country,” including the Flying Burrito Brothers and The Byrds as well as Wilco, the Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.

Day jobs: Kurowski is a waitress at Kiernan’s Steak House in Dearborn. O’Bryan is president and COO of KLA Laboratories, Inc., a national audio/ visual and integrated technology firm. Morgan is a professor of behavioral psychology at Henry Ford and Washtenaw community colleges. Budd is a senior examiner at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Pyro is logistics manager for Direct Buy in Livonia.

What’s in a name? “We wanted to have a family feel to the group,” O’Bryan explains, “and were inspired by the Jayhawks. So we combined wren, the bird, with fields and it sounded like kind of a family group.”

Hoedown heaven: The Wrenfields will perform at their eighth Downtown Hoedown this weekend, and O’Bryan says it’s “one of our favorite festivals to play” each year. “The environment down there is so good,” he explains. “Everybody’s happy. It’s fun, just a great weekend. We’ve had slots Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and any of them are just great days.”

Hear ’em: The Wrenfields’ last album, “Seconds,” was released in 2002. A new project, “Green Man’s Ghost,” is due out this summer.

See ’em: The Wrenfields perform at 5 p.m. Saturday (May 17) on the River Stage at the WYCD Downtown Hoedown. Admission is free. Visit www.wycd.com for information.

Surf ’em: www.wrenfields.com

Web Site: www.wrenfields.com

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