By Grahm Long
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — From their polished vocals to their seamless integration of jazz and folk rock, The Concerning Lions are emerging as a bright spot in Chattanooga’s independent rock scene.
As their Facebook biography page states, “Split between Nashville and Chattanooga, Concerning Lions is a quintet divided geographically, but united by writing songs they enjoy performing together.”
The group’s formation goes back to a childhood bond between leader singer and UTC student Brian Beise and multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Durham.
After a couple of years playing various gigs in downtown Chattanooga with Beise, Durham discovered lead guitarist Chase Gamble and banjoist Daniel Hallum. Through Gamble, the band acquired drummer and fellow UTC student, Nathan Miller.
The fall of 2008 marked the quintet’s debut at The North Chatt Cat, a bar located on Frazier Avenue in the downtown area. Click here to listen how the Concerning Lions got their big break.
While the band generated buzz among music enthusiasts in the region, it also captured the attention of the Sodium Glow record company in Nashville, TN.
David Terry, one of the producers at Sodium Glow, had previously worked with Beise under an internship during high school. However, it was Durham’s connection to Terry that sent them to Nashville.
The meeting with Terry produced the band’s five song EP album titled A Movement Back and Forth, which released in the fall of 2009.
“On the first track of Concerning Lions’ debut EP, A Movement Back and Forth, singer Brian Beise implores: ‘Meet us,’” says Paste Magazine columnist, Rachel Bailey. “Canon” offers a salutation of acoustic strumming and stretchy electric yawns, punctuated by banjo interjections and the occasional tambourine jingle, suggesting the Tennessee mountains from whence these Lions hail.”
The band’s first time in the studio was not only a rewarding experience but also a learning one as well.
“Recording the drums in the studio was interesting, sometimes your hands and feet are not on the beat they should be, but it was good – it made me a better drummer,” says Miller. “It allowed me to listen to things that I never knew that I did before, either good or bad. It was pretty tough at times, because I had to redo things over and over again.”
Beise says the process of composing music has made the band “more intentional about exploring and listening to music.” Brian Biese tells how the Concerning Lions made him a better musician
Recently, the Concerning Lions released a live-in-studio, full length, sophomore album titled The Winter Set.
“Every time we get to do a gig, I try to remember that standing up in front of people and playing songs is kind of a ridiculous thing to do,” says Beise. “And to ask them to take it seriously and clap at the end of the song, it’s obscene in a lot of ways and sort of audacious, so you have to be really grateful.”