Caleb Lightfoot knows music.
He was not always this way, though. Even though his father was in a Christian air-metal band, he listened to talk radio as a child.
When he started playing Guitar Hero his sophomore year of high school, his interest in music suddenly perked. He began playing the bass guitar, and was immediately hooked.
“I found my dad’s old bass guitar and decided I wanted to be a rock star,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot, a sophomore architecture major from Midland, and his friend Jeff Mabee, a junior psychology major from Midland who plays drums, began performing together for their high school youth group. But, after their graduation, the two had to leave their church behind to attend college at Texas Tech.
But, their journey with music was far from over.
Ten months ago, while at a party in Lubbock one day, Lightfoot saw Austin Davidson sitting on a couch. Having not only an ear for music but also an eye, Lightfoot trusted his instinct and approached Davidson, asking if he played music.
He was more than right.
Davidson, a sophomore psychology major from Caddo Mills, grew up surrounded by musicians, and was very involved in the Dallas music scene. He joined a few bands around middle and high school, playing guitar and even writing and singing his own songs.
Lightfoot asked Davidson if he would want to join him and Mabee for a jam session sometime. Davidson accepted.
Consequently, Dear Timothy formed.
“Our first show was at a house party last October in a backyard,” Davidson said. “There were about 40 people there, and it was freezing outside. It wasn’t all planned out; we just did it. We set up a bunch of Christmas lights too, and it was really fun.”
As the band continued to perform, they decided they needed a permanent lead guitar player. They knew of Thomas Dulin, a local producer, but Davidson was nervous for him to hear their music. They gathered the courage to ask Dulin to fill in for a couple of shows, then asked him to join their band. He, too, accepted.
Now Dear Timothy is drawing crowds and acquiring new fans each time they perform.
“Our chief aim is to have fun and play good music,” Dulin said. “We want to take good music to Christian kids.”
Davidson said Dear Timothy does not just perform in church settings. In fact, the band recently performed at Bash Riprock’s.
“My favorite part is hanging out with a bunch of random people and getting to know their stories,” Davidson said. “You can hear so many cool things from so many different people.”
Dear Timothy plays primarily indie/pop/rock music. The band takes their name from the Book of Timothy in the Bible.
“Timothy was this younger dude working in a church and Paul was his mentor, and Paul sent him an encouraging letter to help him deal with certain things and show him how to live in a community of believers and deal with people we don’t expect to deal with,” Davidson said. “A big motivation we want to express is (that) we want to encourage others to have a good time with people that don’t expect to have a good time, or who might be outcasts of society.”
Although all members of the band are Christians and their values are reflected in their songs, Dulin said they are not necessarily a Christian band.
“We don’t exist for the sake of people singing along with us to worship God,” he said, “but in the same time, we’re all Christians and we love Jesus so in anything we do that’s going to be a part of it.”
Davidson writes and sings the songs the band performs, but not without help from the other band members. He describes the process as taking an easel to the band and describing the size and colors of the picture he wants created, and he gives them the creative rights.
“A lot of it is I’ll take what I’ve written and they’ll tell me what sucks about it, what is great, what I do a lot in my other songs and different things I should try,” he said. “It’s really cool.”
Davidson said the songs he writes are mainly stories about his life and lessons he has learned. He spent the summer in Nashville working, and his goal was to write one song per week. Dulin said he has written as many songs as some bands do during five-year careers.
“I would have conversations with homeless people and guys who were recovering from addictions who just came out of prison, and people who are overlooked in society,” Davidson said, “and I would ask them their story and where they find their joy. These stories are beautiful, and they aren’t ever told, so that’s where a lot of the new stuff is coming from.”
Dear Timothy has released two EPs, both of which are available on iTunes. For their second EP release, the band performed at Gatsby’s Coffeehouse, in which an estimated 200 to 250 people packed into the café to listen.
“The show was sold out, and people actually had to be turned away at the door,” Dulin said. “They told us we could only have about 150 people there. It was so fun because there were so many people there and we couldn’t even hear ourselves playing, they were singing so loud.”
Dear Timothy usually plays two or three times a month in Lubbock. They would like to have another show at Gatsby’s in November or December. They post their shows and videos on their Facebook page.
In addition to playing in the band, most of the members are part-time students at Tech.
For their cover video of Coldplay’s “Paradise” on YouTube, the band cleared out a house and invited friends and fans over, throwing confetti and streamers and jumping around wildly in slow motion. They are considering having an open casting call for another music video they want produced on a larger scale.
“Our last video turned out pretty cool,” Dulin said. “We hope to have more people in our next video, so stay tuned.”