In this self-titled, debut album, Malachi Henry and the Lights explores sounds that seem raised up from an early Staple Singers set list, as if the band had been pressing its ear to the wall, listening to patriarch Pops Staples directing the family vocals in the next room.
For the recording, Singer/Songwriter Ben Hernandez was backed by Los Angeles veterans Rick Holmstrom, Jeff Turmes and Stephen Hodges, of Grammy winner Mavis Staples’ band and supported by seasoned North Carolina musicians like Emily Frantz of the Americana duo, Mandolin Orange.
Download the album below...
San Diego-based quintet, Malachi Henry and the Lights is an alternative rock band deeply rooted in the raw and haunting sounds of early gospel and Southern soul, tempered with synth and sampled electronics.
When lead singer and songwriter, Ben Hernandez, left his home in California for North Carolina he eventually walked away from professional music as well. He continued writing though, crafting new songs that reflected his life in the South. They spoke of longing for the company of old friends, his time as a traveling salesman, and wrestling with spirituality. As he drove the stretches of highway and long-forgotten main streets through places like Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, the sounds of Malachi Henry and the Lights began to emerge.
“I had come to a turnrow of sorts,” says Ben. “I looked back at the music I had done in the past and realized that so much new and different music lay ahead me. So, after some heavy contemplation I turned back to the ‘field’ and went to work.”
After returning to California, Hernandez assembled a band that would draw his songs off the page and give them a life of their own. And the timing was finally perfect. Ben recalls, “Each musician I reached out to, because of current or past band situations, all told me pretty much the same thing; that they were ready for something different, ready for music a little outside their comfort zones. I was ready for a change as well. Moving back to San Diego after living in North Carolina for so long, with new songs and new perspective on my music, was definitely humbling. I use this analogy a lot: that you need to prune a tree once-in-awhile to promote its growth and bear good fruit.”
Malachi Henry and the Lights is the sound of well water flowing up from dry land. It’s the shout from the back pew of a Wednesday night church service. It’s the metallic hiss of thousands of cicadas pulsing from the trees.
Ben Hernandez / lead singer, songwriter
Kevin Spencer / guitar
Marty Dodson / drums
Scot Smart / bass, guitar
Shea Thompson / keys, synth, samples