By Jesse Bertel

A power trio of songwriters has emerged as fresh faces in the world of folk rock, bringing frenetic energy and intimate storytelling. The band’s members are Jonathon Franklin on violin; Ben Chai on banjo; and Clara Stegall on guitar. Streetlight Cadence performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15, at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott.

Chai spoke with Across the Street ahead of the performance. The following interview was edited for length and clarity.

How did this band get started?

Jonathon Franklin, who’s the lead singer and violinist, was a student at Hawaii Pacific University and he was also broke. So, he started doing street performing on the sidewalks. Over a series of adventures and wild stories and people coming on and off, it became a band. It was about five or six years of doing that, basically exclusively through performing in Honolulu, Hawaii, and on the Greater Hawaiian Islands.

The band moved to Los Angeles, where we just kind of grew and explored more opportunities in Los Angeles up until the pandemic. Now the three of us live all over the country. John lives in Seattle, Claire lives in Hawaii, on the North Shore, and I live in Katy, Texas. We are at the point where we’re fortunate that we can just get together for tours, and that’s what we do.

What does the band name refer to?

Our former accordionist grew up on the big island of Hawaii. Back then, there weren’t, you know, highways or streetlights or anything like that on the big island. So, every time he’d come to Honolulu to visit, when riding the highways, he would see kind of a rhythmic, you know, cadence of the streetlights on the highway. That’s just something that he always remembered. So, it was just kind of a random thing that happened.

How does the

band’s songwriting process work?

Because we live in different places, we’ve tried the whole Zoom thing and it’s just so different than when you’re in the same room and we feel that we are definitely more productive when we’re in a room together. So, we schedule songwriting together. When we’re on tour, if we have an off day, we’ll spend the whole day focusing on something. When we come together for songwriting, usually someone has an inkling of an idea and we’ll all flesh it out together. We do tend to venture into complex musical compositions. So, you know, you might have a skeleton, like chords and words and a melody for a song, but then we might take a day and everyone kind of figures out individual parts or runs or riffs or something and then practices until they can play them.

For more information about Streetlight Cadence, visit

Jesse Bertel is a reporter/videographer for the Prescott News Network. Follow him on Facebook @ JesseBertel, email him at, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.

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