Essentially the solo vehicle for Ben Folds Five drummer Darren Jessee, the mellow indie pop group Hotel Lights formed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 2000 after Ben Folds Five temporarily disbanded. Switching from drums to guitar, piano, and vocals, Jessee hooked up with guitarist/producer Alan Weatherhead, guitarist/keyboardist Chris Badger, bassist Roger Gupton, and drummer Mark Price for the band's eponymous debut album released on Bar/None Records in 2006. By 2007, Gupton and Price had been replaced by longtime Tift Merritt sidemen drummer Zeke Hutchins and bassist Jay Brown, and the band started work recording new material at Butch Vig's Smart Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. After finishing the album, Jessee relocated to New York City. Hotel Lights' sophomore effort, Firecracker People, was released on Bar/None in August of 2008. The band released Girl Graffiti, featuring the single "Falling Down," in 2011. That same year Ben Folds Five unexpectedly reunited for 2012's The Sound of the Life of the Mind and a subsequent world tour and live album. Jessee also toured as part of Sharon Van Etten's band in 2014, and played drums on some of her 2015 EP I Don't Want to Let You Down. Never abandoning Hotel Lights, he compiled material during breaks between those commitments that would become Get Your Hand in My Hand, released in March 2016. Again featuring Weatherhead and Brown, but with Jessee taking over drum duty, the album included a rearranged, more rustic version of the ballad "Sky High" from The Sound of the Life of the Mind, a song Jessee wrote. ~ Matt Collar & Marcy Donelson
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