Although Judah and the Lion have only been pluckin’ and singin’ since 2011, the band’s career has reached great heights. They’re currently on tour with Ben Rector and have taken selfies with the likes of David Letterman. But naturally, they got their start in the small town/big city of Nashville, TN where they met as “friends of friends.” I had the privilege of interviewing the band’s mandolin player, Brian MacDonald. Here’s what he had to say about the band’s exciting career so far.
MusicDash: What initially drew you to Nashville?
Brian MacDonald: I was drawn there honestly because it’s the “music city.” I wanted to have a career as a musician and I knew that there would be a lot of excited people with a similar mindset in Nashville. We all met at a college there called Belmont University.
MusicDash: What is your favorite/most memorable show?
Brian MacDonald: Ooo, that is a tough question. There are a lot of memorable shows, and each one for a different reason, as you can imagine…!! A lot of shows played outside in the freezing cold, things gone wrong, etc… but if I had to give one favorite, I would say our first show in Athens, Georgia a couple years ago. It was one of those nights where the stars aligned. We sold out a pretty big show at the 40 Watt, the fans loved it. It was a bog moment that’s never been totally recreated. That show felt like our first real rock show, and I’ll never forget the new feeling.
MusicDash: Both of your releases so far “Sweet Tennessee” and “Kids These Days” have made the Billboard charts. What was your initial reaction to the response you got from your music?
Brian MacDonald: We are so thrilled. It seems like each thing we release does better than the thing before, which is really encouraging. We are so thankful to have loyal fans that support us even when we take out music in varying directions.
MusicDash: You have some really great music videos including “Rich Kids” and “Sweet Tennessee” that were shot around Nashville. What was the inspiration behind these videos?
Brian MacDonald: “Sweet Tennessee” is inspired by the state we live in, and the state Judah grew up in. Such a beautiful hilly landscape and a truly special place for us all. We definitely try to create a real fun environment in those music videos. Especially in ‘Rich Kids,” we called upon a lot of fans and close friends and basically threw a party, and caught it on camera. We made a HUGE bonfire, one of our buddies did a firework show. It probably wasn’t very safe, but we had fun, and we were really happy with the video.
MusicDash: You got to perform “Kickin da Leaves” during David Letterman’s last season earlier this year. How was that experience?
Brian MacDonald: It was surreal. We were so honored to be on that, especially on Letterman’s last season. It all happened so fast that it was almost hard to take in that moment. But looking back we are so thankful we got the change to do that.
MusicDash: What inspires you artistically?
Brian MacDonald: Definitely our community around us. We love writing about our friends, lifestyle, love. All through a lens of joy and positivity.
MusicDash: You just started your tour with Ben Rector in support of his new album. What do you think fans can expect from this show and this pairing?
Brian MacDonald: We are loving being on tour with Ben. I think it’s a great pairing. Fans can expect that we will give everything we have each night to create an energetic atmosphere. We just want to get the crows a little sweaty before Ben gets out there.
MusicDash: What are your career goals at the present moment?
Brian MacDonald: We wanna keep making music and sustain a career. We want to create a successful environment for us to start having families too, because that is super important for us. It’s hard to do on the road, but it’s possible. We’re super excited to release another album early next year. I think it will be a little different for our fans… maybe even shocking, I don’t know. It kind of makes me think of folk, hop and roll…. kinda hard to explain but we’re jazzed!!
You can find Judah & the Lion at:
YouTube: Judah & the Lion
Interview by Kaitlyn Midgett