Folk-bluegrass band Judah & The Lion will release their debut full-length disc, Kids These Days, on Sept. 9. And Billboard.com is exclusively premiering the album, the follow-up to their 2013 EP, Sweet Tennessee, which reached the No. 2 spot on the Bluegrass Albums chart.
Click below to hear the album:
This time around, the trio — singer/guitarist Judah Akers, mandolin player Brian Macdonald and banjo player Nate Zuercher — was able to take more time during the recording process. “Making the album was great because we had two weeks to do it where in the past we had two or three days,” Macdonald tells Billboard. “It took a lot of stress off of the process and allowed us to write some songs in the studio and really take our time to make sure it was done right!”
And teaming up with producer Dave Cobb, known for his work with Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson, made for a solid partnership. “Working with Dave was awesome,” says Macdonald. “He was really able to take the songs to the next level by opening our minds and creating a new sound that still encompassed the Judah & the Lion feel.”
The album, which Macdonald says has a “‘young and free’ kind of feel behind it,” also has a lighthearted lyrical focus. “Like our previous music, the new album also has strong themes of hope and love,” he adds. “Kids These Days is just about making the choice to be happy and content with our current situations.”
Among Macdonald’s favorite tracks, “Water” is “kind of the wild card out of all the songs, but we got really experimental and had a lot of fun being creative,” he explains. And “Rich Kids” speaks to Judah & The Lion’s economic status. “We are young, don’t have a lot of money to spend, but we are doing what we love and we are loving every second of it regardless,” says Macdonald. “The simple things in life really are the things that matter most!”
Judah & The Lion will soon be hitting the road to promote the album: Their first date is Sept. 13 at Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., as part of the Starry Night Festival. And the trio — who first met during their days at Nashville’s Belmont University — are counting down the days. “All of us are dreaming big for the tour this fall. We will be putting on the best show we possibly can,” says Macdonald. “This may or may not include a lot of dancing, a lot of crowd participation, rapping, and maybe even some flips if you’re lucky.”