New country group Levon, dually signed to Sony Music’s Columbia Nashville and Epic Records, made their Grand Ole Opry debut Saturday evening. Levon is made up of best friends Michael David Hall, Jake Singleton and Ryan Holladay who released their five-song self-titled debut EP last year.
Although the three collectively had never before performed on Country’s most famous stage, Levon band member Ryan Holladay was a child prodigy and made his Opry debut as a five-year-old. Holladay began playing mandolin and singing harmonies as early as age three, and appeared on a “talented kids” episode of Oprahwhen has 11. Ryan Holladay’s return to the Grand Ole Opry coincided with his 26th birthday.
Levon’s Saturday Opry appearance showcased the trio’s engaging, soulful brand of country/rock and harmony-driven style. To start off their three-song set, lead vocalist Michael David Hall invited the audience to hold up their phones in flashlight mode to create a flickering starlit backdrop for the song “Barefoot on the Moon.” The band then performed “Till the Wheels Fall Off” and closed with the “Give Up Your Heart” which has received with a standing ovation.
Collaborating to create Levon’s genre-transcending sound are Northbrook, Illinois native Michael David Hall (on guitar and lead vocals, with a soaring five-octave range); Sumter, South Carolina’s Jake Singleton (on harmonies, bass, and percussion); and Camden, Tennessee, native Ryan Holladay (on guitar, mandolin, banjo and harmonies). A display of their compelling song craft and harmonies, their Levon EP features the following selections and songwriters: “What Oh Why” (Michael David Hall/James Dean Hicks/Jamie Houston), “Runaway Love” (Michael David Hall/Chris Lindsey/Jamie Houston), “Wired” (Michael David Hall/Marc Beeson/Jamie Houston), “Give Up Your Heart” (Jamie Houston/Craig Wiseman) and “Ms. Marianne” (Michael David Hall/James Dean Hicks/Jamie Houston).
A few of the trio’s musical roots are suggested by their name, an homage to the talents of The Band’s Levon Helm, as well as Elton John and his song, “Levon.” All in their twenties, Levon’s members nonetheless share a collective musical passion for the 1970s “Laurel Canyon Sound” generation whose lyrics and melodies have remained relevant long after their time on the charts.
To date, the band has performed festival dates and opening slots for such artists as Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Willie Nelson, Kelsea Ballerini, Alabama and many others.