“Friend of a friend” is the way it all came together, three very different people from very different places, united by a shared love of music. As a band, Judah & the Lion owes much to fate and to the small town feel of Nashville, the city that brought the trio together from scattered parts of the country. The three met while attending Belmont University in the city, introduced to each other through music and mutual friends.

“We all had similar stories, despite the fact that we’d grown up in different places,” explains mandolin player Brian Macdonald, “Judah is the Southerner, I’m the Chicago city slicker, and Nate is the laidback, bearded Rocky Mountain guy.”

One listen and you can hear the influence of each of their youths. Judah Akers in his Tennessee hometown, listening to the soulful crackle of Ray Charles records, Nate Zuercher, a Colorado kid into rugged rock’n’roll, Macdonald driving through the suburbs of Chicago, blasting everything from Frank Sinatra to Billy Joel.

Somehow, all these sounds have come together in Judah & the Lion – the old school sincerity of Southern gospel and soul, the energy of rock and the time-tested pop of classics and hits from the past. And through it all, there is the sound too – of their shared obsession, the feverishly nostalgic twang of bluegrass, country and traditional folk music.


THE AUDIOTREE MUSIC FESTIVAL LINE-UP