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Christian folk trio aims to entertain, not evangelize

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In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that will profile a new Columbus band each week.

Before sharing the stage as The Glory Days, Josh Beatty, Alli Butterworth, and Danny Nathan shared the stage in musical theater productions at Worthington Christian High School.

“There’s something about it, that when you’re in a cast together you grow closer,” Nathan said.

During their first production together, “Beauty and the Beast,” all three of them became friends, but Butterworth, who played Belle, and Nathan, who played Gaston formed a love connection through the play.

“We always joke that Belle ended up with Gaston,” Butterworth said of the pair who have now been together for four years.

In another musical venture in 2011, Nathan and Beatty formed a Mumford & Sons cover band with a couple of friends that opened for Twenty One Pilots that same year.

Mumford & Sons remain an influence to their music today, but before The Glory Days formed, Beatty had aspirations to go in a different musical direction.

“I love heavy metal, the Christian stuff. I always wanted to be in a Christian metal band. I wanted to be, not in school, I wanted to be traveling the United States and other countries in a metal band, but I could never find anyone to do that with,” he said.

Beatty said that as soon as he put that dream on the backburner, The Glory Days came together in August 2012. The band’s name has a different meaning depending on which member you ask.

“My intention behind that was, we’re kind of a throwback … It’s sort of a grassroots folk sound that we’re going for, and that’s something that people could call the glory days of folk,” Nathan said.

Beatty’s interpretation is more future-focused. “The past is great, it’s always great to remember where you came from. The present is awesome, we love the present,” he said. “But the glory days are always yet to come, the best is always yet to come.”

“I see a place in pop music where we fit in where no one else fits in,” he added. “There’s not a lot of people doing this three part harmony stuff.”

Vocal harmonies are something that Butterworth has experience with as she graduated this spring from Cedarville University’s music program, specializing in voice. In 2011, she founded The Inversions, an a cappella group.

“That has been a really cool opportunity for me to grow… It has really strengthened me as a singer and performer,” Butterworth said. “I’m really excited to come back from that and really pour what I’ve learned in to this group.”

While her a cappella group covered popular songs, Butterworth is excited to write original songs for The Glory Days, something that she’s been doing for a long time.

“When I was like, five, I would write these songs for my baby dolls. My first song was about my Kelly Barbie doll,” she said with a laugh.

The band has released a handful of singles thus far, including “Surface,” which Beatty wrote during his year at Hillsong International Leadership College in Sydney, Australia.

When writing any song, Beatty thinks of a saying that he once heard, “‘If you can’t write something that 40 thousand people can shout back at you, then they’re going to shout something else back at you, and that something else is ‘boo’’… I’m always thinking that in the back of my mind because I want people to be able to sing along.”

After his year in Australia, Beatty came to Ohio State in Fall 2014 to study jazz guitar, an instrument that he picked up as a pre-teen due to his love of “Guitar Hero.” He also plays guitar in the worship band for RealLife, a Christian student organization on campus.

Nathan, a fourth-year in English at Ohio State, had a different reason for picking up a guitar.

“I was going on a missions trip and I was like ‘I wanna be the cool guy that plays guitar,’ so my parents, loving music, bought me a guitar,” said Nathan, whose parents both have master’s degrees in music from The Ohio State University.

“I actually had nodules on my vocal chords when I was a kid, and you’re not supposed to sing with those. Then musical theater started happening, and I was like ‘you know it doesn’t hurt, it seems alright’ so I just kept doing it,” he said. Nathan now spends hours a week singing between his part-time job on the worship team at Grace Polaris Church in Westerville alongside Beatty, and his work with The Glory Days.

The trio has released music with both Christian and secular themes, and doesn’t think being religious is a prerequisite for enjoying their songs.

“Rap is awesome sometimes, and a lot of people listen to it. Lyrically though, there’s a lot of horribleness. I would contend that the people that listen to that don’t actually believe or agree with it,” Nathan said. “You don’t have to necessarily agree with us to listen to our music, because that’s not the case in other genres.  If it’s good music, listen to it. We’re not here to try to evangelize, we’re singing about what’s important to us.”

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