New Music Monday: Judah & the Lion- Sweet Tennessee EP

If you know me personally or you’ve seen anything I’ve posted on Twitter for the past, oh, two months or so, you know that I’m living in Nashville, Tennessee for the summer. I don’t care if this sounds cheesy– living in Music City, even for just a few months, has literally been one of my biggest dreams come true. Why? I’m surrounded by music. Good music. AWESOME music. All the time. I can honestly say that every single day I discover a new sound or new artists that I fall in love with.

One of those artists is Judah & the Lion. A few weeks ago, my friend Kate convinced me and a few other friends to go and see them play at an event hosted by Nashville’s independent radio station, Lightning 100. The band was INCREDIBLE. Seriously, the place was packed, and I couldn’t even see the stage from where I was sitting on top of the back of a booth at the Tin Roof. Their live performance was this super-energetic mix of folk and old-fashioned bluegrass jam.


Earlier this year, Judah & the Lion released a six-song EP, Sweet Tennessee. I bought the EP after hearing their set at Tin Roof, and it’s been on repeat everywhere I go ever since. Maybe their EP isn’t necessarily a “brand new” release, but for the purposes of blogging, it’s new to me, and completely worth attention. My favorite two tracks on the EP are “Hesitate” and “Southern Ground,” but truly, every song has its undeniably wonderful moments.

Here’s a video of Judah & the Lion playing “Southern Ground” live at Nashville’s 12th and Porter in April. Be prepared to tap your feet uncontrollably as soon as you hit play…

And as if their sound isn’t enough to have going for them, their attitudes are in the right place as well. The band was hanging out after the show, so I got the chance to chat with a few of them and they were very friendly, and humble despite their obvious talent. So here’s to hoping that these guys get all the attention they deserve in the awesome future they have ahead of them. And here’s also to hoping they come to Athens, Georgia to play a show in the near future… (pretty please!)

Find Sweet Tennessee on iTunes and stream it on Spotify. You won’t regret it.


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Turning my grass blue.

I never considered myself to be a bluegrass kind of person until I bought Dierks Bentley’s bluegrass project, Up On the Ridge on a complete whim of curiosity in 2010. Lo and behold, I completely fell in love with his sound, and ever since, I’ve started exploring music that’s bent toward or influenced by bluegrass.

Here are just a few of my favorite discoveries:

Song: “Paper Airplane”
Artist: Alison Krauss and Union Station
Album: Paper Airplane
This song definitely shows off Alison’s flawless control over her clear voice. I love the way the verses are more subdued, and then the chorus just bursts out with so much emotion. I also love all of the background accent riffs; they enhance the song perfectly.

Song: “Someone Like You”
Artist: Sierra Hull
Album: Someone Like You- Single
This is a cover of a song originally released by Adele, but I personally like this version better than Adele’s. Sierra’s more laid-back version lets you focus entirely on the vulnerable lyrics instead of being distracted by a busy background part. I know that David Nail also did a cover of this song, and I love his version as well, but this one wins as my favorite.

Song: “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
Artist: Dierks Bentley
Album: Up On the Ridge
This song is also a cover. It definitely contrasts with U2’s original version, but I absolutely love what they did with this song. Adding harmonies gave it so much depth, and of course I love the mandolin and banjo rich background. It’s such a down to earth arrangement. It’s so good that it’s almost haunting.

Song: “White Fences”
Album: The Reckoning
Okay, you caught me– NEEDTOBREATHE isn’t exactly bluegrass. But they do have a really awesome mandolin drive and some touches of banjo in this song. And mandolin and banjo are definitely bluegrass-esque, so we’ll just pretend… 🙂

Keep talkin’ twangy!