Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights

Eleven months ago, the local blues-, roots- and Southern rock-influenced Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights was just starting to come into its own. It had released a 10-track debut, Hot Trottin', a disc even the band now admits was of fairly low production quality, and found itself becoming quite the draw with the college crowds—hence early gigs at the Granada Theater. But, in the six-piece band's own hopeful future home in the area indie rock scene, it was still something of an enigma—a reputation only galvanized when the band was signed to Atlantic Records, seemingly out of nowhere.

Here's where the story gets interesting, though: In the almost year-long span since that development, JT&TNL has worked hard to change its local reputation as a pretty boy college band into one as a live performance marvel. And by playing almost regularly about town, in a wide array of area venues, the band's starting to carve out its desired niche.

Now, with almost a year of being part of the major-label machine under its belt, Tyler and his cohort are planning to head to Nashville in August to record their "official" debut. But, first, it's another couple weeks of consistent touring. Only, this time, it's on bills with artists like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock, who hand-picked JT and Co. from their shared Atlantic roster to open his headlining show for seven dates across the country.

—Pete Freedman

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