Music News & Reviews

Daniel and the Lion to play benefit for Olympia Artspace Alliance

Don’t let the name fool you: There is nothing Biblical about Daniel and the Lion, playing Monday in Olympia.

The Nashville-based band, on tour with Counting Crows and Toad the Wet Sprocket, is coming to Olympia to play a benefit for Olympia Artspace Alliance, a nonprofit working to create affordable downtown living and working space for artists.

Band founders Jimmie Linville and Daniel Pingrey just came upon the name and liked its catchy sound. And while Pingrey’s name is in there, that doesn’t make Linville the lion. He just didn’t want his name in the band name.

So if Daniel and the Lion isn’t a Christian band of any sort, what is it? Singer-guitarist Linville, pianist Pingrey, drummer Darren Garvey, bassist Benton Kubicki, guitarist Dan McMahon and organist Michaela Thomas have been classified as alt-folk, folk-pop and beyond.

“I usually say it’s song-focused rock,” Linville said in a phone interview. “I think that’s the best classification.”

But though he’s like most musicians in that he doesn’t want to be classified, he’s unusually good-natured about it.

“I suppose I don’t really mind our music being classified any way someone wants to classify it,” he said. “I really don’t mind it being called pop. I just know that today’s pop that’s on the radio doesn’t really resemble our music.”

When someone asks him about his music, he added, “I usually just say the person will probably like it.”

Tom Anderson, who’s on the Artspace board, definitely likes it. He invited Daniel and the Lion to play after getting to know the band and its music through his daughter Laurel Anderson, who’s dating Kubicki.

“Trying to define music is kind of like trying to define abstract art,” said Tom Anderson, who is himself an abstract artist. “There’s part of that you either like or you don’t like. There are colors and textures that you resonate with.”

“They’re an authentic band,” he said of Daniel and the Lion. “They don’t sound like anybody else; they don’t try to sound like anybody else.”

The concert, for which the band is donating its time, is the first major fundraiser for the alliance, which has done a survey to determine the need for affordable housing for local artists.

The concert is also aiming to raise awareness of the alliance and its mission, said Anderson, who spearheaded the fundraiser.

“It’s almost more important just to spread the message that we’re still engaged in this process of creating affordable live/work housing for artists downtown,” Anderson said. “If we can make any money, that’s great.”

He’s excited to share the band’s talent with Olympia, too. And the band, which is sandwiching the Olympia show between Counting Crows concerts Sunday in Las Vegas and Tuesday at Redmond’s Marymoor Park, is excited to be playing here.

“We’d heard so much about Olympia and how great a town it was that we were very excited to play a proper show there,” Linville said. “It’s one of the bigger shows we’re playing on this tour that’s not a Counting Crows show.”

Said Anderson: “We happen to be able to benefit from the fact that they’re passing through Olympia. They’re going to be camping on my lawn.”