Nashville band Daniel and the Lion to perform


A band’s sound is its identity. Fans can often pick out a song from a band they like, even if the song has never been heard, simply by the style. As members come and go, it might seem that the sound might change, sometimes for the better.

At 9 p.m. today, the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., will welcome the band Daniel and the Lion to the stage.

“The band was started five years ago in Madison, Wisconsin,” said Jimmie Linville, the band’s songwriter, vocalist, guitar player, and a founding member. “We were based there until we moved to Nashville two years ago.”

Linville and cofounder Daniel Pingrey brought the band to life from the ashes of their college band. Since then, they have released two full-length records and averaged more than 150 shows a year.

They said they believe they should perform whatever songs they want without having to limit themselves to a specific genre.

“Both Jimmie and I are the kind of people who are compelled to make music all the time because we just have to,” Pingrey said. “That hasn’t changed since the first Daniel and the Lion show in January of 2009. Several more like-minded people have gotten on board since, and in that sense, you could say our vision has held since the start.”

In the past year the band has added vocalist and organ player Michaela Thomas. After being invited to perform with the band on its spring tour and the Counting Crows tour, she became an official member.

“The band’s used female vocals for harmonies on albums previously, but a second voice live really adds a new dynamic,” Thomas said. “I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from longtime fans that Jimmie and I fit very well vocally.”

Linville said he’s never been overly interested in creating a mystique about the band that might create separation between it and its fans.

“I hope the audience has a good time,” he said. “I love that after a show we can shake hands and talk to our fans. It’s nice that we can just talk with our fans as regular people.”

Throughout the course of their existence, the band members have been more than willing to embrace the audiences.

“I remember one particular case early in Daniel and the Lion’s touring career when we were playing a show at the House Cafe in Dekalb, Illinois,” Pingrey said. “I was just finishing setting up my marimba when an older middle-age couple approached me to see what the deal was with the 8-foot-long upside-down pipe-organ-looking xylophone thing. I told them a little about it, but within several seconds of playing the marimba they were both in tears at the instrument that was just a curiosity moments ago. Being able to bring joy like that to people keeps me going.”


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