Being involved with music and musicians is a real blessing. I have gotten to meet and speak to long time heroes that have kept me sane for as long as I can remember as well as discover new music by just showing up at a show just because I need a break from my life for a couple of hours. These are also the shows that I have met and gained so many new friends that I am grateful to be surrounded by today. I don’t mind driving a few hours to see bands coming through that I have reviewed because, as you know, our staff only covers what we like (we are a diverse group, so most music is going to be liked by at least one of us). Such was the case when I was recently on vacation in Louisiana. I have worked extensively with Chelle Nelson of Rawk Promotions out of Dallas so when presented the opportunity to hit a show with her and her husband, I took it. Turns out, it is a small world because I got to see and meet Space Ape, who Dragon had already reviewed (Space Ape) and a new band out of Lafayette, LA/Santa Rosa Beach, FL called Layden and the Lion, who I think deserves some serious attention.
Layden and the Lion was started in 2011 by Seth Richard who has primarily been a solo singer/songwriter/guitarist to this point. With the addition of Josh Ferguson on drums and Derek Cashat on bass after sharing his songs with them, Layden and the Lion became a full-on band. They term their sound as Southern Punk with heavy influences from Lucero, Against Me! and Alkaline Trio. Punk with Southern Rock/Blues undertones and Hard Rock riffs that are good enough to earn endorsement from Moniker Guitars? Sure. That works, even more so live than by music only. Not to denigrate their music one tiny bit, this is a live band first. Over the top energy and tight as hell, Layden and the Lion throw everything into their shows. Everything. This is one of those rare bands that feel every single note and lyric, almost playing more for themselves because theirs is the music written from their souls being laid out for others to enjoy, should they choose to listen. Emotionally charged and heart-felt like few bands I have been fortunate enough to see, Seth is a master lyricist and songwriter that never comes off as cheesy or insincere. Throaty vocals pour out some of the most honest lyrics over catchy guitar work, rumbling bass and clever drumming. Dig a little deeper into the history of Layden and the Lion and it becomes obvious where this obvious passion stems. Take the band name, for instance. Layden is Seth’s eldest son. Add to that Jensen, his youngest son who is autistic and is Seth’s Little Lion and you have Layden and the Lion. Moving stuff for sure, based on name alone. Subject matter ranges from upbeat to melancholy, all pragmatically dealing with everyday problems as they affect everyday life. Relateable little vignettes, showing the inner scars that define each of us as individuals based on our own person experiences from one day to the next. Beautiful, at times; heartbreaking at others. To say “moving” is unfairly understating how pure this band’s music truly is.
With the recent release of Lost and Lonely With Everything, Layden and the Lion have shared a huge piece of themselves with the world; laid out raw and bare. Listen to the stream below and you will be keeping a close eye out for a tour date near you. Take my word for it, Layden and the Lion must be seen live. Songs on this brilliant release include “Take It Or Leave It”, “Just Stay Gold”, “Family Tree” (which I added to our soon to be monthly Spotify song list), “I’m Not Leaving”, “Sweet Angel” and the acoustic “Deep Hearted Slum” and are all very, very good. In their own words: “Layden and the Lion is not trying to reinvent the wheel….. we’re just keeping the wheel rolling.”