About a year ago, Elon University students Jacob Danieley and Frank Hurd started making music together. Then juniors, both were used to delighting the Elon community at Midnight Meals and Friday nights in Irazu.
During the summer, Hurd and Danieley decided the time was right to expand into a bigger band. They played with a variety of other musicians before deciding to add sophomore Ben Soldate, fellow senior Chris Lorch and 2010 alumnus Mike Lobacz to their line-up.
“We played with Mike, Chris and Ben and knew immediately that was the group we wanted,” Hurd said.
They decided on the name Phoenix Highway as both homage to Elon and just a cool-sounding name.
“I was driving on the highway late at night and thought of it,” Danieley said.
Having band members in different stages of their college experiences and careers can be difficult, but the band manages to practice once per week. They also keep in touch through an e-mail chain between practices.
“It’s a challenge,” Hurd said.
On Oct. 21 the new band performed for the first time. The Fat Frogg was their host and they played from 10 p.m. until midnight.
For now, the band is focusing on building its fan base and getting established as a performing act. They are still working on integrating harmonies and their favorite music styles – rock, pop and country – into a seamless, unique sound. For now, they do mainly covers, but Hurd and Danieley are songwriters.
“(We) see a lot of potential in the future writing original music,” Hurd said.
For alumnus Lobacz, performing in Elon was a bit strange.
“(It was) weird with no classes,” he said, “but fun seeing old friends.”
The band has three keyboard/guitarist/vocalists in Hurd, Danieley and Lobacz, while Lorch plays the drums and Soldate is on bass. According to Hurd and Danieley, each member has their individual musician goals, but all are dedicated to working for the good of the band.