Photos/Feature by: Amber Davis
Seated in front of an unlit fireplace, warm lighting and a few beers scattered around the house, sets the intimate mood as By Lightning performs at a house show in front of a small group of fans. This intimate performance was being recorded for Sofar Sounds Nashville. Their folky/Americana sound matched the Southern-influenced decor in the house off of 12th South.
The audience members gently nodded their heads along to the bands smooth vocals and catchy melodies.
Joel Dahl, lead singer and acoustic guitarist, announced to the intimate crowd that they will play a few new songs off their double record Tennessee Fields.
The double record Tennessee Fields is to be released in October. The band’s songs include vivid narratives achieved through descriptive and lively storytelling.
“There are a lot of stories told on [the new record], that’s why I got into songwriting: the desire to tell stories,” Dahl said.
Bassist, Matt Moody, said the double record is inspired by diverse genres of music including Southern folk, hard rock, and even some Hip-Hop.
“We are all fans of each others work,” Moody said. “Everyone brings something to the table each time and it’s hard to say no to everyone’s talent.”
Stanton Adcock, electric guitarist, Dahl, and Moody all laugh at how much music they have written and contributed to By Lightning.
“Having [several songs on catalog] is really the only downside of having three guys that love to create music and write a lot of songs,” Dahl said.
By Lightning has been recording Tennessee Fields in several locations around middle Tennessee. However, it is mostly at a farm Dahl owns.
“We [recorded the double record at] Joel’s place but we also recorded at his studio,” Moody said. “I might record something at my studio but it all ends up at Joel’s and Green Lodge. Joel has a new studio out in the country; it’s very serene. Stanton and I went out there and hung for the weekend, it was very nice, very easy to settle into.”
They also record at several other places, individually at their own studios or at a friend’s studio in Sylvan Park.
“We’re pulling stuff in from everywhere,” Dahl said. “Which is fitting considering how the songs are pulled in from everywhere.”
August of last year, their song Future History, was featured in a Subaru commercial. Moody said they created Future History within one day.
Moody, Dahl and Adcock agreed with one another about how writing a song for a synchronized license is like a game to them.
“We went into it not knowing what the commercial was going to look like or feel like,” Adcock said. “Then we received overwhelming comments from people telling us some really personal stuff through our website. It’s not something you would think you would receive through a car commercial, we touched people who want to play it at their wedding.”
Each member of By Lightning is also in different side projects and produce their own solo work as well.
“We use By Lightning as the granddaddy project,” Moody said. “We will put a few things throughout the year and our solo projects just focus on our own songwriting style and our own style. By Lightning is just that mould and we try to make it a family thing.”
Dahl originally created the name By Lightning, for his solo project. However, he did not feel like the name fit well with what he was producing.
“It’s just the idea of something that strikes you; it grabs you in an instant,” Dahl said. “I think our music tends to do that with some people.”
The size of the band changes depending upon who is most available; however, Dahl, Adcock, and Moody are the band’s three main members. Besides the three, the other members are percussionist Jerry Pentecost and singers Serai McAnulty and Kat Brock.
Last summer the band shared the stage with Wye Oak at Bonnaroo. They won the “Road to Bonnaroo” competition in Nashville which catapulted them go to the festival.
"Nashville has some charge, the music scene is just crazy,” Adcock said. "So many different bands are here and everyone is supportive.”
In 2011, the Nashville Scene crowned By Lightning as “Best New Band,” when they were only together for two months.
“We are cool with having things go at their pace and flying under the radar at times,” Dahl said. “Just making it feel natural and not forced, we make sure we are having fun at all times. What it comes down to is, we are three guys that love making music and enjoy each others company while doing it.”
Catch video footage from By Lightning's live Sofar Nashville performance soon via Sofar Sounds Official YouTube channel!