Jonathan Tyler with special guest Clint Bracher
Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights formed in January 2007, taking cues from Southern rock veterans like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Black Crowes, and Led Zeppelin. Although the band's namesake frontman was born in Birmingham, AL, he later relocated to Dallas, TX, where a friendship with a local rhythm guitarist named Kansas allowed Tyler the chance to exercise his songwriting abilities. He then recruited additional bandmates from church, adding Nick Jay on bass and Jordan Cain on drums. Within four months, they had amassed enough material to record an album, and the quartet captured its swaggering, muscled sound with 2007's Hot Trottin'. Several high-profile tour dates followed -- including opening slots for Heart, the Black Crowes, and Erykah Badu -- and the brewing hype prompted Atlantic Records to sign the band in August 2008.