Phoenix Highway
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Phoenix Highway

Burlington, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Burlington, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Phoenix Highway Plots Its Musical Course"

Music fan Holt Skinner believes that, if given the chance, Phoenix Highway could become the next Hootie & The Blowfish.

“I think they have the talent to do it,” he said in a recent interview. Skinner discovered the three talented musicians during a performance by the Elon University Electric Ensemble last year. Jacob Danieley, Frank Hurd and Michael Lobacz were all students at Elon University at the time.

Danieley is a Burlington native, Lobacz is from Marietta, Ga., and Hurd is originally from Rhode Island. Both Lobacz and Danieley graduated from Elon University with music technology degrees; Hurd is still a student there, majoring in music technology as well.

The three friends had played together in other bands, but they formed Phoenix Highway in May of last year. They’ve performed at Elon University and a number of clubs and restaurants in the area, including The Fat Frogg in Elon and Grill 584, 770 Huffman Mill Road, Burlington, where they will perform at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is free.

Phoenix Highway plays everything from classic rock to today’s country and pop hits. They’re currently writing original music that they hope to release on a debut CD in the spring and Lobacz said they’re always looking for places to play around the area, too. All three can play keyboards, guitar and sing vocals, while they consider Hurd the lead singer. Until Hurd graduates from Elon University, the three are content to play in clubs and venues in the area, just to get their sound out there.

The trio specializes in good tight, harmonies. Its catchy name, Danieley said, comes from a drive he and Lobacz took one night.

“It was really funny. We were throwing ideas around and we wanted to do something with ‘highway.’ We just added Elon to it and we were like ‘that’s it.’ ”

Skinner said he thinks that the name, and these guys, will definitely make an impression on the Alamance County music scene and beyond.

“You just don’t find young people like this today,” he said. “They’re all good Christian guys and they just love making music.”

For more information on the band, visit its Facebook page at - The Times-News

"Phoenix Highway: An Original Elon Band"

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. - The Pendulum Newspaper

"Alumni, Students Rock Toward Record Deal"

Studying for exams, purchasing textbooks and scrambling to finish papers are typical parts of a college student's life. But for some, additional responsibilities include writing songs, recording music and playing gigs.

Phoenix Highway, an eclectic ensemble formed on Elon University's campus, has been preparing for the release of its debut album, "American Blend," available Tuesday, Dec. 13.

"We're excited about it," said senior Frank Hurd. "What we think is really cool is that it encompasses a lot of styles, like rock, acoustic, soul and country."

Hurd met Jacob Danieley, class of 2010, and Michael Lobacz, class of 2011, in 2009, when the three were part of the Elon Electric Ensemble. After playing together and exploring interests, the musicians discovered common sources of inspiration, including The Beatles and The Eagles.

"We really respect what they do so much," Lobacz said. "That's where a lot of our music comes from, trying to emulate their work, but not imitate it."

Influenced by the harmonies and songwriting of what Hurd calls "great bands of the past," the three teamed up with junior Ben Soldate in spring 2010 and were joined most recently by freshman Jake Valente.

With a solid foundation, the group is moving on to bigger things. Hurd said the band has been looking to play more venues outside Elon, expand its fan base in number and location and talk with Redlight Records about a management deal.

Phoenix Highway has been talking about commercials, TV shows and movies, hoping to build a following that can support its passion.

"When we get enough momentum to get rolling and get the CD out there, we're going to be looking at something great," Hurd said.

The men of Phoenix Highway have a lot to be proud of.

"As music technology majors we did everything for this album ourselves," Lobacz said. "We put in a lot of time, which helps with the end product because we were exposed from beginning to end."

Hurd said he believes the band's role in producing, writing, mixing and performing its music commands a certain respect that will hopefully translate into fans.

"There's so few people that write their own music and do it all themselves," Hurd said. "We did it all, and maybe people will be encouraged to support us and come see us live."

Although the bandmates are welcoming success, they have faced challenges balancing responsibilities as students, family members and musicians.

"Some of the guys are still in school so it's hard to find time to practice," Lobacz said. "Jacob is starting a family but when we're on the road with the band, it's hard."

Despite obstacles, fans continue to support the band's work and look to the future.

"This band is made up of some very talented musicians from the drummer all the way to the lead singer," said fan and senior Ned Cuthbertson. "I would definitely recommend seeing them perform before you graduate, so in a few years when they get big, you can say you watched and listened to them before they got famous."

Phoenix Highway will be performing Dec. 7 at College Taphouse, and Dec. 13 at the Fat Frogg. - The Pendulum Newspaper


American Blend (EP) 2011



"Very cool. Phoenix Highway has a unique sound which will help them gain recognition." -Elliot Mazer (Producer for Neil Young, Janis Joplin, Willie Nelson)

"Beautiful vocal tone...compelling songwriting." -Holly Hutchinson (Former A&R Executive at Capitol & Atlantic Records)

Phoenix Highway was formed when Jacob Danieley (NC), Frank Hurd (RI), and Michael Lobacz (GA) met at Elon University in 2009. The three began performing around North Carolina and quickly developed a following. The band has since added fellow Elon University students Ben Soldate (VA) on bass, and Jake Valente (NY) on drums.

Phoenix Highway has become a recognizable name throughout the town of Elon, its neighboring cities, and recently, a number of states across the East Coast. The band has been gaining momentum due to their captivating live performances and the recent release of their first album, "American Blend."