As Christmas lights start popping up all over town, many of us are looking for ways to get in the holiday spirit. If music is your jam, check out The Lower Lights when they perform Dec. 7-10 at Kingsbury Hall. A folk-gospel group made up of more than 40 musicians from different genres, The Lower Lights is made up of many big names in Utah's music scene—including members of Neon Trees and Fictionist.
The eclectic nature of the group is something that percussionist Darin Lesueur loves best about the Lower Lights. "I love that no two songs sound the same," Lesueur says. "They come from different voices and instruments, or different influences musically and spiritually."
The chance to play with such a large group of extremely talented musicians is also a draw for Debra Fotheringham, vocalist, guitarist and percussionist for the group. "My favorite part is being able to make music with amazing people whose talent I've admired for many years and who I now get to call my bandmates," Fotheringham says. "That never stops being cool to me."
The Lower Lights originally began when a group of friends toyed with the idea of recording traditional gospel hymns in a folk-Americana style. They brainstormed about which other musicians they'd like to invite to their project. Dominic Moore—who provides vocals, guitar and his skills at arranging music—says he feels very lucky to have been invited.
"During the first session we did together, this project didn't have much of a shape or a structure ... but we finished the recordings and really liked them," Moore explains. "They were messy and different and heartfelt and ours." The finished product was the group's first album, A Hymn Revival. The group now has six completed albums—four gospel and two Christmas-themed.
But for those who really want the full Lower Lights experience, their sixth annual Christmas concert is not to be missed. Previously held at the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City, the group realized this year that they would need a bigger venue after all seven shows sold out in 2014. Renditions of classic Christmas hymns like "The First Noël," "O Come All Ye Faithful," and "Go Tell It on the Mountain"—with acoustic guitars, banjos, surprising percussion choices and the vocal power of a group that's just a bit smaller than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir—will turn even the biggest Grinch into a holiday elf.
"We sing Christian songs," says Fotheringham, but non-Christians need not feel left out. She credits the universal appeal of Yuletide carols to their message of love and hope. "I think, also, the joyful way we arrange and perform them attracts people of many faiths and beliefs, [both] religious and nonreligious," she says.
"All are welcome at our shows," says Moore. "We work hard to build an experience where people can feel welcome, community, and sometimes even awe at the power of music to touch our hearts."
The Lower Lights
1395 Presidents Circle
University of Utah
Dec. 7-9; 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m.