Nashville is one of America's real creative hubs, a place the citizens there like to dub The Music City.
Amid the more commercial aspects of the Nashville sound, though, you'll find some startling new groups, an underground scene of real poise and talent.
Judah & The Lion could be next in line to crossover. Breakthrough hit 'Take It Back' scorched its way across the Stateside charts, and it impacts here on November 10th. New album 'Folk Hop N Roll' is out now, and it's a manifesto of sorts, connecting the band's rough-hewn Americana to some neat melodies and sharply etched songwriting.
Here, Judah & The Lion break down their new album...
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'Suit And Jacket'
This song was a no doubt opener for us for 'Folk Hop N Roll'. With our music we want to implore people to go out and live their best life. It gets so easy to survive the day and the year. We must be intentional with our lives to live the best we can.
When we recorded this we were thinking of an early 90s rock style drum with a banjo rolling over it. It's about the first time I met my "now wife" Lindsey --and in that moment she was all I really wanted or could have hoped for.
'Going To Mars'
Sometimes we feel alone, lost, or forgotten about in our dreams. We let these thoughts of rejection get in the way of actually doing anything about it. We wrote and recorded this song hoping people would realize that anything is attainable. Don't reach for the moon when you're going to Mars!
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'Take It All Back'
This song in its very simple nature has a deep meaning. Success is sometimes defined by how many people are listening to your music, how many followers you have, or how cool you are etc. we want success to be about people. That's what music is to us. This song we are reminding ourselves to wake up to that face.
This is our oldest song that ended up making it on the record. We actually wrote it to be on our previous record, 'Kids These Days', but for whatever reason it felt ahead of its time. We sat on it for a few more years and eventually found a spot for it. We had played it live for a while and loved the different energy and vibe that it brought to our set.
Brian and Nate get to show off their chops and judah made this one of his first songs to change his vocal style and get more into a rap-style mentality. Lyrically this song is about remembering that the depths we find ourselves in within our heads are usually surrounded by lies.
Early on in our career we had the opportunity to travel to Sweden a few times. We fell in love with the people, the culture, and particularly the city of Stockholm. The last time we were there was in the summer and we honestly didn’t want to leave. This song was written about that longing to stay in what felt like paradise. This was written alongside 'All I Want Is You', when the four of us were sitting in Brian’s house jamming and getting ready to head in to the studio.
On the original release of the record, this song served as the intro to our new sound. Brian had brought a demo to the studio which featured many of the synth and electronic sounds that ended up making the final cut. We found inspiration from those sounds and ended up writing this and 'Folk Hop Sound' as our break through into the Folk Hop world. This song is about taking the Dreams in our head and bringing them to reality.
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Judah was up late in a hotel watching Discovery Channel and the show was talking about how love is just a chemical reaction that happens in our brains. We are all hopeful romantics in our band and believe in the power of love. This song is about that feeling.
'Folk Hop Sound'
This song is a welcome of sorts to the world of what we’ve deemed “folk-hop”. We felt free to be ourselves on this album and wanted to push away any boundary or box and “let go”, and we invite you to do the same! We also really wanted to have a song that has a designated dance to it, which Judah sings about at the end.
'All I Want Is You'
This song started off when the four of us were jamming at Brian’s House with the three acoustic instruments and an old Zoom Drum machine. It’s about having dreams, but remembering the things that ultimately matter, like the ones we love the most. Judah specifically wrote it thinking about his wife, Lindsey.
This song is about not caring about what other people think of you, and feeling free to let loose. This was probably the most fun we’ve ever had recording. All the gang vocals were done late at night with all of us huddled shirtless around a single mic yelling and screaming. It was quite a sight! The song starts off with what sounds like an electric guitar but is actually a distorted banjo.
This song was inspired by a conversation Brian and Judah had about social anxiety. It’s easy to feel alone or like you’re the only one feeling a certain way, especially when everyone else seems like they’re doing just fine. And we wanted to encourage people that they’re not alone in that. We were really inspired sonically by the Beatles during the recording, but when we play it live we add a even harder rock and roll lean to it.
'Better Man' is all about striving to be the best people we can be. Realizing all of us make mistakes, but each day we can get up and decide to try to be a better person. This is a more vibey and reflective track compared to all the others.
'We Own The Night'
We wrote this one towards the end of the recording process. We wanted to try writing the song a little differently. Our producer Dave Cobb, had us make a beat with the drum machine, and then Judah started messing around with a Vocoder that makes the vocal sound weird. That's where you hear the "ooo yeah yeah yeah" thing. And that was the base for the song.
We kind of went from there and had fun with it. Nate plugged his banjo into an amp and used distortion pedals to make it sound different, and Brian used his electric mandocaster. It's definitely our most 'different' track that we've ever put out.
When we wrote this we we're trying to think of a cool way to get the crowd to interact by having a kind of call and response. The lyrics are lighthearted, talking about the fact that in our lives all of us will experience moments of feeling like outcasts, loser, or outsiders. The beauty of overcoming that happens when we come together in community.
'Take It All Back (Strings Version)'
This was a fun one for us. Usually when we write and record songs, we try to think about the Live show and making the songs translate to a high energy, fun environment. But for this version, Brian composed a string quartet version of the song. We recorded it Live in the studio with the quartet. We like to call it the 'Rainy Day' version. It's technically the same song, but it gives a totally different feel and vibe.
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'Folk Hop N Roll' is out now.
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