Even though he handles bass duties for a band called Forlorn Strangers, Jesse Thompson knows Easton rather well.
It is the same city where the 2003 Lehigh Valley Christian High School graduate spent his formative years recording music in the basement of the former headquarters of radio station WEST 1400 AM. Little did he know more than a decade later, music would bring him back to Northampton Street.
On Friday, the Forlorn Strangers will perform at the State Theatre. The concert will be held in the theater's Acopian Ballroom.
"We're really excited to come back fully loaded," the Easton native said during a Jan. 25 phone interview. "Our live show is diverse but also communal."
In 2008, Thompson's journey brought him from Easton to Virginia. Three years later, he moved to Nashville and soon formed Forlorn Strangers with guitarist-mandolin player Chris Banke, banjoist-guitarist Benjamin Lusk and sisters Abigail Dempsey and Hannah Leigh.
"For whatever reason, this group of people are all in sync on some level and we all pretty much believe the same way and have the same values and just try to keep the dialogue going all the time," he said. "All five of us are songwriters. So, in that sense, we're showcasing our songwriting."
Since their coming together in 2012, Forlorn Strangers have released the EPs While the Grass Grows and American Magic Tricks. Last year, the band dropped their eponymous full-length debut effort.
Thompson said recording Forlorn Strangers came at a critical point for the band: they were in midst of their 20th straight month of touring. "In May of 2015 we left our jobs and our leases and our houses in Nashville. We got a storage unit and threw everything in it. We had about 60 bar gigs booked," Thompson recalled. "Within three months, we played 76 shows in 90 days."
Thompson described the band's focus on vocal harmonies as their "secret weapon," with a sound that draws heavily from folk, Americana and bluegrass influences. "We try to celebrate that fact that we can sing together," Thompson said. "Folk music is, strictly translated, music of the people and so that's kind of what we keep coming back to."
However, Thompson admitted the group is not above writing a pop song or two -- if the music calls for it. "It's been the band's mantra forever to be inclusive and embrace each other. We didn't form around a genre, we formed around songs," Thompson said. "We try to celebrate the fact that we can sing together."
In late December, RollingStone.com premiered the music video for the band's single "Leave It On the Ground." Thompson said the group shot the video with the intention of pitching its premiere to CMT and Rolling Stone. Ultimately, they went with the latter. "The way it worked out was perfect," he said.
Thompson said he is looking forward to additional touring in the spring and summer and getting back on the festival circuit. He also hopes to one day finish his mug club list at Porters' Pub.
"The goal is to just keep trying to spread the word on how we do things. Try to spread the love," he said.
Forlorn Strangers, with special guests Blue Jean, perform 7:30 p.m. Friday at the State Theatre, 453 Northampton St., Easton. Tickets cost $12.50.