Like many albums that come out nowadays, Judah & the Lion‘s upcoming Revival was very much influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specifically, a lot of the record was born from an early period of the pandemic when frontman Judah Akers was living in Nashville, while mandolin player Brian Macdonald had relocated across the globe to accompany his wife, who was studying in Sweden.
“It was just wild that we were in different spots but going through similar things,” Akers tells ABC Audio. “That’s kind of what you’re hearing in the record.”
One common thing Akers and Macdonald were going through was the departure of banjo player Nate Zuercher. Revival, then, became Judah & the Lion’s first album as a duo.
“We were obviously a little nervous,” Akers shares. “Nate played a big part in our band, him coming up with these unique banjo sounds was obviously a foundation for our identity.”
“But it also came with this beautiful kind of innocence,” he adds. “I was learning how to play the mandolin and the banjo, Brian was relearning how to play the banjo.”
That sonic identity, which first put Judah on the map with songs such as “Take It All Back” and “Suit and Tie,” is still intact on Revival. Alongside that, though, the group’s lyrical content builds on the work of 2019’s Pep Talks as it continues to solidify around themes of optimism, resilience and the fight for a better tomorrow.
“For me, as the main lyrical steerer for our band, I do hope it’s a staple,” Akers says. “I hope writing about my life in some ways can connect to your story, and, in that way, we can kind of be humans together.”
Revival is out Friday.
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