Union Transfer


Mat Kearney

Just Kids Tour

Mat Kearney

Parachute, Judah & The Lion

Fri, March 27, 2015

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


Sold Out

This event is all ages

Get The New Mat Kearney Album with Every Pair of Tickets Purchased! Every pair of tickets purchased includes a digital download of Mat Kearney’s new album, Just Kids, to be released February 24, 2015.

Mat Kearney
Mat Kearney
“Two kids with wet cement living down in their souls, they say what gets carved when you’re young stays there when you’re old” says Mat Kearney on the title track of his 4th full length album “JUST KIDS.”

“There’s something incredibly vulnerable about middle school for me," says the singer and songwriter. "We’re really impressionable during that period. The cement’s still wet, so to speak, and a lot of things later in life are born during that season.”

“JUST KIDS” is full of nostalgia and youthful energy written almost as a love letter to his northwest upbringing in Eugene, OR. “A lot of my family has moved to Nashville, where I now live, which is awesome for me personally but it severed some the physical roots I had to Oregon. I found myself writing a lot of songs about my hometown and how it shaped me today.”

While on the road promoting 2011’s critically acclaimed Young Love, Mat began to compile ideas for what would eventually become his latest offering. In fact, it was a fan favorite from Young Love, “Ships in the Night”, which kicked off the creative process for his new album. “Ships genre blending style really resonated with me and other people, and it became a touchstone for the new album,” he adds. “All of the songs on ”JUST KIDS” stretched from it.

For the first time, Mat brought a laptop and a portable studio on tour with him. He wrote in between shows, and he recorded everywhere from Los Angeles and Sweden to his home studio in Nashville, personally producing a lot of the songs and also enlisting the production talents of MDL [Maroon 5, Justin Bieber] and longtime collaborator Josh Crosby.

“I set up to explore by myself,” he explains. “I literally made fifty tracks, and I spent hours alone doing things I wouldn’t do if other people were around. To experiment like that and take the reins as a producer was very different for me. I was out in the wilderness, making music full of swagger that I wanted to play in my car for friends.”

That process yielded songs like the single “Heartbeat”, which merge vintage synths, a slap bass, handclaps, hip-hop cadence, and uplifting melodies. It’s instantly irresistible and indicative of Mat’s creative approach.

“I picked up my guitar, and the song basically fell in my lap,” he goes on. “It was so simple. I wanted to bring in some 90’s influences and make it groovier than people would expect from me. I was inspired by Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time After Time’, and it puts a love song in the context of Nashville where I live.”

Meanwhile, “Billion” bounces with a distinct energy as he paints a vivid picture of true love. "It's really about the idiosyncrasies of the person you love,” says Mat. “You can either be annoyed by them or celebrate the things that make the person you're with unique."

Throughout moments like the poetic “Ghosts” and nostalgic “Los Angeles”, he summons a style that’s equally rooted in singer-songwriter storytelling and rap bombast. “I kept asking myself, ‘what would it sound like if Paul Simon and Kanye West were in a room together?” he admits.

Mat confidently slides into his own space, building on a bevy of accolades and achievements. His last album, Young Love debuted at #1 on the Billboard digital chart and #4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. In addition, Young Love was the first album to oust Adele’s 21 from its resident iTunes #1 spot in 2011. His music has been featured in countless television shows and films ranging from Soul Surfer and Parenthood to The Closer, NCIS, 30 Rock, and Vampire Diaries. His 2006 major label debut Nothing Left to Lose has sold over 450,000 copies, while 2009’s City of Black & White hit #13 on the Billboard Top 200. In between it all, he supported everybody from John Mayer to Keane on the road.

Ultimately though, Just Kids will prove to be his most impactful statement to date. “It’s the most honest record I’ve done,” Mat leaves off. “I tried to bleed each lyric as opposed to just writing songs. I wanted it to be filled with undeniable moments you don’t forget. In that way, it’s like childhood."
Back when they were in high school, Parachute’s Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums), and Christopher “Kit” French (saxophone, keyboards) spent nearly every afternoon in Anderson’s basement, dreaming up songs showing a deep affinity for classic pop, heart-felt rock, and tuneful blue-eyed soul. Now, after a decade of touring internationally and turning out smash singles like “She is Love” (#1 at iTunes) and “Can’t Help” (the first single from the band’s 2013 album Overnight, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard Top 200 chart), Parachute are set to deliver a new album that reclaims the spirit that first sparked their love of music. “Making this record felt just like that one hour after school when we were kids,” says Anderson of Wide Awake, the band’s fourth full-length album. “It was like we were all 15 again and just starting to discover that excitement of creating songs together.”

With a sound that’s impassioned but sunny, fresh but timelessly organic, Wide Awake centers on songs both gracefully arranged and brimming with the boundless energy of Parachute’s live show. Newly pared down from a five-piece to a trio, the Charlottesville, Virginia-bred band forged that sound in part by shaking off all creative inhibitions. “We felt like we had no limitations to chase this sound that the three of us have wanted to build for so long,” says Anderson. “It was as if we were woken up from some sort of slumber, revitalized and rejuvenated with this new awareness of who we are as a band.” Reuniting with John Fields (the producer behind 2011’s The Way It Was and their 2009 debut Losing Sleep), Parachute were also guided by the purest of instincts in the studio. “We knew a song was working when we were all dancing and having a blast with it,” says Anderson. “And if something didn’t feel good, we just let it go.”

Though that commitment to intuition is beyond palpable on Wide Awake, the album was also born from two and a half years of dedicated writing and exploration. “I don’t know if I’ve ever written more for an album, or worked so much on any specific song.” says Anderson, who came up with nearly 100 songs during that time. “It was just very important to me that we got each song exactly to where it needed to be.”

With every track on Wide Awake, Parachute matches their sublime melodies with a refined sense of songcraft. Showing a complex sensitivity shaped in part by lifelong love of artists like Paul Simon and Billy Joel, Anderson also infuses the album with both carefree warmth and emotional depth. The album’s epic opener “Without You,” for instance, captures what Anderson calls “the feeling of meeting someone and knowing that it’s going to happen,” and harnesses that lovestruck feeling with the help of gorgeous gospel harmonies and soulful horns. The gently devastating “Jennie” wraps its cascading rhythms and wistful vocals around a story of broken opportunity and love lost. “Sometimes you catch a glimpse of they way things could be but end up taking a detour,” Anderson says, “only to realize you’ve lost your chance and can’t ever get it back.”

Shifting from joy to heartache and back again Wide Awake, offers everything from the stomping, fired-up swagger of “Crave” to the sorrowful piano ballad “What Breaks My Heart” to the hushed acoustic reverie of “When You Move.” And in certain moments Parachute brilliantly embodies both bright and dark, such as on the swinging and summery anthem “Lonely with Me” (as in: “Baby if you’re gonna be lonely/Be lonely with me”) and on the moody but pop-infused “Love Me Anyway,” an ode to “knowing you’re inevitably going to mess up, but having somebody who’s willing to forgive you and move on,” according to Anderson.

In bringing Wide Awake to life, Parachute made a point of “dialing back our thought process and just doing whatever we could to best serve the songs,” as Anderson explains. To fulfill that ambition, the trio returned to the same sense of wonder they felt upon launching their first musical project back in 2002. Starting out while they were still in high school, the band quickly began landing gigs locally and soon gained a following at the nearby University of Virginia. As their inaugural release under the name Parachute, Losing Sleep debuted at #2 on the Billboard Digital Albums Chart and climbed to #40 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Over the next few years, along with releasing The Way It Was and Overnight (which shot to the #3 spot on iTunes), Parachute toured with such artists as Kelly Clarkson and Gavin DeGraw, in addition to three sold out headlining tours. “One of the biggest highlights over the years is definitely playing all these venues that we dreamed about growing up,” says Anderson. “Anytime we play a show like that, it’s just mind-blowing for us.”

While Parachute’s indelibly melodic sound packs more than enough power to electrify an arena- filled crowd, each song on Wide Awake comes from much more intimate origins. “Most of my writing process for this album was very solitary.” says Anderson. “I’ve written with other people in the past, but it was fun to go back to the way I used to write when I was a teenager.” And when combined with Parachute’s renewed passion as a band, that approach ultimately allowed for an honesty and heartfeltness that makes Wide Awake their most thrilling authentic album yet.
Judah & The Lion
"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.

Judah & the Lion is a modern pop band with a feel as old as hills and holler, Akers' topical lyricism matched with the familiar feel traditional instrumentation – mandolin, banjo and the kind of vocal harmonies that make the heart ache.

"We're all very different people but it has been obvious since the day we met that we should make music together," says banjo-player Nate Zuercher, "Though we're different, we have similar philosophies as to what is important in life and that is a huge part of what keeps us going strong. We know it is important to enjoy where you're at, to love the people you're with and live a bold and passionate life. That looks different for each of us but allows us to relate and understand each other."

"We met because Judah was asking around about a banjo player," remembers Macdonald, "Nate played banjo and I was just starting to move from guitar to mandolin, so we both went to meet up with Judah and we just connected on a personal level."

The three played together soon after that initial meeting and "we connected right off the bat," remembers Macdonald. "It wasn't like Judah had said he wanted to start a band. He had some songs and he wanted to hear what they sounded like with a banjo. But when we played, it felt right and it sounded good. And we just knew we'd keep playing together."

That playing together resulted in two successful EPs, First Fruits and Sweet Tennessee. The latter blasted onto the Billboard charts, hitting the Top 20 in a variety of genres – No. 2 on "Bluegrass," No. 9 on "Heatseekers" and No. 15 on "Folk." Sweet Tennessee also made it to #1 on iTunes "Singer/Songwriter" chart and broke into the Top 25 overall albums chart. The band has hit the road repeatedly in support of both releases, making the cross-country trek for extensive national tours and playing to sold-out crowds throughout the South and (of course!) in their Nashville hometown.

Whether you've heard the band play live or merely listened to those first two releases, you can feel the growing connection between the trio, a musical bond of true and deeply felt emotion. Judah & the Lion possess a resonance beyond their years and a sincerity of feeling that comes in part from childhoods spent performing at youth groups and at Sunday worship.

And while their debut EP was a collection of worship songs, the tracks on their full-length album are inspired by a wide variety of themes, narratives eloquently reflecting the trio's continually evolving lives… and sound.

Recorded March of 2014, Kids These Days embraces the band's folk trio roots and expands from there, banjo/mandolin/harmony forming a sonic backbone that incorporates everything from keyboards to electric bass into a heady mix of old and new instrumentation.

"We really wanted this record to show really where we are in our lives now," explains Akers, "We wanted people to be able to dance to these songs and have a freshness about them that made them lasting. Honestly, we just love life and love people and hope that comes through."

On Kids These Days, the band explores a new range of emotional territory, writing about love and fear and joy and all the nuanced spaces in-between. The songs on this album are about past and future, adventure and family, confusion and hope – a collection of stories about being young, about finding your way, while discovering - yourself.

"This record is filled with energy and a youthful spirit that absolutely encompasses our circumstances," say Zuercher of the album's expansive, high energy feel, "We don't have much but we've got a whole lot of life and passion for what we do and who we are and we hope that people can grab a hold of that when they hear this record. It has been awesome to be able to move forward and utilize some new sounds but we still feel like this record is US."

In the end, Judah & the Lion has become the happy sum of disparate parts, Southern grit, Midwestern openness, the exuberant freedom of the West, all brought together to make a truly joyful noise.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123