Their mixture of old style rock with a little country and blues is what makes Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights an electrifying phenomenon.
This real world, no studio tricks band who was recently the late night act for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and has rocked out while sharing the stage with musicians like AC/DC, Lynard Skynard, Kid Rock, O.A.R. and Tyler’s most memorable, ZZ Top, will be playing in Indianapolis next week.
“We are from Texas and these guys [ZZ Top] are Texas legends,” Tyler said. “It was so cool to meet these guys, be able to just talk to these guys, and especially to be asked to share a stage with them.”
JTNL met in their home state of Texas at age 16, making demos and playing small gigs.
Their musical visions were soon blurred by drugs and alcohol after entering college, leading to a break up.
However, the it did not last long.
They reunited after experiencing personal revelations about the dangers of drugs when a close friend of Tyler’s died of an overdose.
“It was one of those experiences that made every minute seem to count,” Tyler said. “You realize how short life really is.”
“You can really watch your life go by if you’re just f–king around, which we were.
“It helped to reiterate what we already knew; we wanted to get together and we wanted to do music.”
Tyler started writing songs again, mixing his southern Texan upbringing with a less conservative style and finding motivation for his diverse sound in the abilities of other famous groups.
“When I saw the White Stripes about six years ago, it made me believe you could still do blues inspired music in modern day,” Tyler said.
Steering away from the mainstream, his headphones blare other inspirations off the old records of John Hammond Jr. and Tom Waits, along with soul music by Donny Hathaway, complemented by the bluesy sound of John Lee Hooker.
JTNL’s newly released debut album, and hit song of the same name, “Pardon Me,” comprises all of these musical styles, creating a genre Tyler may one day call his own.
The goals of the music can be found in the lyrics of the song.
“The sound can open your soul, might make you feel a bit stoned,” Tyler yells. “Maybe it’s been too long since rock ‘n’ roll turned you on. Won’t you pardon me, just let it set you free…”
Tyler can be heard leading the group in guitar and vocals, alongside drummer Jordan Cain, bassist Nick Jay, guitarist Brandon Pinckard and singer Mo Brown.
Whether they’re playing in an arena of thousands of fans, or for a crowd of 30, JTNL brings energy to the stage.
“At the beginning of the day, you are entertaining people, but I’ve tried from the beginning to be really uninhibited and free,” Tyler wrote on the band’s Web site.
“The idea is letting everything be exactly what it is—not trying to control the show, not trying to control yourself, but rather, letting yourself be out of control,” he said. “That’s what makes it great.”
Fans will not be disappointed as Tyler plans to bring this same feeling to Birdy’s Bar and Grill in Indianapolis Nov. 16th.