JUDAH & THE LION (pictured l-r): Brian Macdonald, Nate Zuercher and Judah Akers.

You are watching: Judah and the lion take it all back radio version

During the past 5 years, alternative folk/rock trio Judah & the Lion has arised as a well-known band that is building a big following, and also having hit success. Led by singer & guitarist Judah Akers, the band uniquely functions a mandolin player (Brian Macdonald) and a banjo player (Nate Zuercher) as the other vital members.

Judah & the Lion are well-known for writing and also recording high-energy anthemic songs, that often have a positive, uplifting outlook. Their best song to day is “Take It every Back” (released in 2016), which was certified platinum and also reached #1 on Billboard’s different Airplay chart.

The trio has just exit a new EP called Spirit (on Cletus Van/Virgin Records), which has their latest single “Spirit” plus 4 remixes, that variety from acoustic to experimental pop. This song has actually a heartfelt lyric around not offering up, and the music build to a powerful, emotional top in the chorus.

Here’s one excerpt of our interview through Judah Akers of Judah & the Lion, about how he and also the band wrote their hit song, “Take It every Back.”

Based in Nashville, Judah & the Lion was developed in 2011, when Akers met Macdonald and Zuercher at Belmont University. They were all focused on music, and Akers to be pleased to start a band and also collaborate through talented musicians Macdonald and also Zuercher.

Besides the solitary “Take It all Back,” the trio has also enjoyed radio chart success with their song “Suit and Jacket” (which went gold in 2017), “Over my Head,” “Why Did friend Run?” and their recent single, “Beautiful Anyway.” Notably, the group likewise released an excellent duet ballad referred to as “Pictures” that featured Grammy-winning artist, Kacey Musgraves. In addition, they’ve released 3 albums: Kids these Days (2014), Folk Hop n’ role (2016) and also Pep Talks (2019).

We room pleased to execute this brand-new Q&A interview Judah Akers that Judah & the Lion. That discusses their new EP Spirit, their hit “Take It every Back,” and their distinctive songs “Suit and Jacket” and also “Pictures.”

DK: as soon as you were beginning out, just how did you, Brian (Macdonald) and also Nate (Zuercher) kind Judah & the Lion?

Here’s the lyric video clip of Judah & the Lion’s single, “Spirit.”

Judah Akers: we all met at school, at Belmont university in Nashville. In ~ the time, I remained in my small year…I was creating songs but I hadn’t tape-recorded them. Then i went earlier home for the summer, and my mommy overheard me play and said, “Why no you recording this songs?” and I said, “I don’t know if they’re great enough yet.” then she said, “Well, nothing’s ever good enough till you try.”

At Belmont, we had accessibility to these remarkable studios for totally free as students. So the next semester, ns talked to Nate, who was the just banjo significant at Belmont. And also I was like, “Hey, I have actually these song written and also I think they’re good. I want to document them because that me come have, and so I have the right to play them because that my mom” (laughs). Climate Nate said, “I’ll come and also jam v you.” and I was like, “If you understand anybody that you’ve been playing with, that instrumentally friend think they would work, invite them follow me to play.”

Nate was friends through Brian, that was the just mandolin significant at Belmont. They to be in these ensembles play bluegrass music. Then we visited lunch—we had actually a lot of in common and we play these songs in the Bell Tower (at Belmont), just jamming out. And the following thing girlfriend know, us were recording. Then they approached me and also said, “Hey, we really think in this music and also we want to make a band of it.” So we were type of off to the races.

DK: It’s distinct to function a mandolin player and a banjo player. Did you have a vision that this musical combination would work well?

Judah: To be honest, we didn’t have actually a clue to what we were doing (laughs). I loved creating songs, and also they were very skilled musicians. I had actually just picked up a guitar a few years back. So i was fairly new to play guitar, and also if you in Nashville in ~ Belmont, the next human being is method more talented 보다 you are. It to be fortunate for our band the we had a small bit of ignorance, due to the fact that we to be like, “Let’s form a band—that sounds prefer fun.” and also suddenly you’re in a business together, and also you’re do bigger decisions.

For me, I prospered up in Cookeville, Tennessee. Ns was always around bluegrass music, cultivation up in a rural town. So on the day as soon as we play at the Bell Tower, it felt super-natural and also organic. And the means our group prospered from there has actually felt very grassroots. I’m an extremely thankful the the band involved fruition.

DK: many of your songs have a lot of of power with one uplifting spirit. When you and the band compose the songs, do you shot to look in ~ the hopeful side?

Judah: because that me, ns a organic optimist. I think authenticity is looking in ~ the pain and sadness, and also trying to select hope and choose life at the finish of the day. Since I think the lie about optimistic world is the they’re always happy. That’s not really true, at the very least in mine case. Ns think dealing with sadness and depression and also anger is very common my personality together an optimist. We’ve always wanted our music come reflect the truth of the pain and also sadness, but likewise choose to it is in a human being that is filled with hope and love and also light.

When we’re play live and also singing song with human being at our shows, ns think it involves an energetic emotion that we want to come throughout with. And also we additionally want to compose songs that carry a little light come the heaviness that the civilization that us live in. That’s always been our motive.

DK: In 2016, your had actually a breakthrough hit v “Take It all Back.” can you phone call the story behind the song?

Judah: that was therefore funny, due to the fact that some songs take 5 years to write, and also other songs take 30 seconds. And “Take It every Back” was written in a melted in about 30 seconds. Nate had this banjo line, and then me and also Brian to be vamping ~ above that, and I come up v the lyrics and also the melodies. The was virtually arranged and finished in a issue of minutes. And also it came from the spot where a lot was happening to the band at the time.

We had just played the David Letterman Show, and also that to be a weird thing for us. In ~ the time, us were an indie bluegrass/folk band, and David Letterman’s team liked one of the song on our an initial record. Then us played the show and it was amazing. Girlfriend know, our parents lastly took united state seriously (laughs). That moment was beautiful, however it was gone yes, really quickly. And we want our tape to be much more than simply some great moments. We want to make this around people. When we’re saying, “Take It all Back,” it originates from this heart, the no matter if we play little shows or big shows or pat the Letterman show, we desire to do this around people. We desire to connect with people.

DK: You’ve simply released a brand-new EP v your track “Spirit,” and also it includes other mixes that the song. What influenced you to create this song?

Judah: That tune came right before Covid happened…it was the loss of 2019. Part of our last document (Pep Talks) was around my journey v my parents’ pretty explosive divorce, and also my depression and anxiety going v that. It to be coping in some great ways and also bad ways. And I thought…everybody’s journey is type of linear. If you don’t go with stuff as a human…nobody’s life is perfect all the time. And also with the tune “Spirit,” we had actually this trip of…there’s no city that’s perfect, no story it is perfect, but you keep moving forward no issue what.

It’s weird best now, no being able to play “Spirit” live yet at shows. However in the meantime, we assumed it would certainly be funny to do brand-new mixes, to have actually a couple friends rethink the song and put their print on our words and also melodies. So that’s why we had actually the idea of comes out through an acoustic version, and then this bigger mixes the were more pop or indie.

DK: ns was hear to your songs, and also one the stands out is “Suit and also Jacket.” It has a an effective lyric about not wanting to prosper old too quickly. What motivated you to compose this song?

Akers: it’s funny about that one. Unequal “Take It all Back” i beg your pardon took around 30 seconds to write, “Suit and also Jacket” took me around five years to write. I had gone to a wedding early in ours career. A friend’s uncle came as much as me and said, “When space you walking to begin taking her life more seriously?” like stop play music in a band and get an ext security. In ~ the time, i took violation to the comment, that he didn’t think in ours music career. For this reason I come up v that line, “I ain’t trading my youth for no suit and jacket, ns ain’t commerce my desires for no 401-K.”

Then quick forward come a few years later, mine grandpa passed away suddenly. And also the track was created in the context that my grandpa really believed in my dreams and in my creativity. I wrote that song for the believing in me, and saying that sometimes in life as soon as you check out friends obtain to that following chapter faster than what ns was doing, I created it indigenous this ar of…I don’t want to grow old. I want to go after my dreams and figure out wherein I’m going.

Here’s the video of Judah & the Lion’s song, “Pictures,”feat. Kacey Musgraves.

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DK: an additional song I favor is her ballad “Pictures,” through Kacey Musgraves. Just how did you and Kacey connect for this song?

Akers: the was a yes, really fun point to get to do. Kacey has actually been a hero of ours for a while. Again, a many Pep talks was around me going through my parents’ divorce. I was in the middle of that, and also I referred to as my mom, and also we had an emotionally moment. ~ the contact I was so emotional, and also I choose up the guitar and also wrote that track from the view of my parents. So we really wanted to have a an effective figure to sing it, and also I stated to the guys, “If there to be any method we could get Kacey Musgraves, that would be perfect.” and also it to be so awesome. She heard the song and also liked the story behind it. And also she sang the tune from my mom’s perspective. She to be such a great, brilliant artist in the studio…it to be inspiring. The was really cool come connect and sing a duet v her.