Photo of folk-hop band Judah & the Lion.

Courtesy of Mike Jones.

Judah & the Lion to play Mizzou-A-Palooza

The Nashville-based band will bring honesty and simplicity to their May 7 performance.

By Corin Cesaric | May 5, 2015

Tags: Band interviews Festivals Music


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For some bands it’s all about fame, fortune and the craziness that accompanies the two, but Judah & the Lion seem to be striving for much bigger things.

“We just want to make music that people can grab onto and get hope from,” lead singer Judah Akers says. “We want to influence people and be truthful while making a difference, versus trying to become famous.”

However, he does admit that both fame and fortune would be nice for his and the band’s finances.

The three-piece folk-pop band includes Akers, lead vocalist and guitarist; Brian Macdonald, mandolin player and backup vocalist; and Nate Zuercher, banjo player and backup vocalist.

The band formed while each member was majoring in their own musical niche at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee: Judah in music business, Brian as a mandolin major and Nate as a banjo major.

“We really connected on a relational level, and musically, we just kind of really hit it off,” Akers says.

The band members all have a wide variety of musical tastes from Queen to Frank Sinatra, but they have collaborated to create their own unique sound.

“We’re calling our genre folk-pop, because we feel like it has the Americana folk feel, but also has the dance beat,” Akers says.

Judah & the Lion will be playing May 7, at the end of the year festival Mizzou-A-Palooza in Shakespeare’s parking lot. Mizzou-A-Palooza is free to all MU students who present their student ID.

Judah & the Lion try and keep their music uncomplicated while still connecting with their audience. The main way they do this is through being honest.

“We really just keep it kind of simple and keep it about music and the truths that are going on in our life,” Akers says.

Even with the different opportunities that have arisen for the band, they still stay humble and take everything with a grain of salt.

“It’s just a nice confirmation to what we are doing when we have opportunities that come up that seem a little bit bigger than what we are at the time,” Akers says of the band, which recently appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman.”

The band is preparing this summer for its second album.

“Hopefully we’ll be releasing it sometime early next year,” Akers says.

The band’s previous album “Kids These Days” and EP “Sweet Tennessee” both made it to the Billboard charts.

Akers says above all he hopes that through their music, “people would learn to not take life too seriously, but also learn that everyone is kind of struggling and going through the same thing and even through all of that there is still hope to grab on to.”

And for the upcoming show here in Columbia? Well, there’s one main thing you cannot forget to bring.

“The dancing shoes are a must,” Akers says. “Come ready to participate.”

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