Have you heard of the country music band LANCO? Do you know them and what music they make? If you answered “yes” to both questions, good for you. Otherwise, you’re lucky because you now have the chance to know more about this young and promising country vocal group. In this article, we bring you some interesting things about this band. So keep on reading, folks, and who knows, they might be your next favorite country music band.
The Band Formation
As a singing group in the country music genre, LANCO was formed in 2013. Its namesake and front man Brandon Lancaster initiated the creation of the band. He first met Tripp Howell, the band’s future drummer, at a music festival. The two moved to Nashville almost at the same time. Shortly, they met school mates Eric Steedly, Jared Hampton, and Chandler Baldwin. As they share a common interest in music, they started jamming together. Steedly would serve as the band’s guitarist while Hampton will be the keyboardist and Baldwin as bassist. Their name LANCO stands for Lancaster & Company. It was derived from their lead singer’s surname, Lancaster.
They Started As Friends
Everything started with the group just hanging out together and playing music. It’s that common interest they share that bound them tighter. The intent of forming a band was there from the beginning but as they began enjoying each other’s company, their friendship shortly outshined the musical plan. In an interview with Lancaster, he admitted,
"Really, when we started playing music we were just hanging out,” Brandon began. Tripp and I had just moved to Nashville and didn't have many friends. We definitely started with the intention of being a band and playing music but the friendship kind of overshadowed the music early on."
Their Unexpected Discovery at a Concession Stand
The members took their passion for music out of their friendly sessions. While it’s true that each has a day job, they also started playing music in various venues as well as honky-tonks. Tripp worked at a carpet warehouse. Lancaster admitted how they turned the place into a practice space at night. Lancaster, on the other hand, was at a Bridgestone Arena concession stand. Surprisingly, it was through one of the members’ jobs where the group was discovered. Their preliminary plan to put up a band was on its way to becoming a reality.
How Keith Urban and Little Big Town’s show paved the way for Lanco’s discovery?
At a Keith Urban-Little Big Town show one night, Lancaster recognized producer Jay Joyce in the crowd. The famed producer works with several musicians including Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, and Little Big Town, among others. At that time, Lancaster was working at the show’s concession booth stand. Seeing Joyce around, Lancaster shut down his hot dog stand and approached the legendary record producer. He introduced himself and struck up a conversation.
Lancaster revealed that the talk between him and Joyce was purely about music. He didn’t have any intention of pitching himself or anything to the producer.
"I didn't think we were at a place or time to have Jay Joyce produce us. But he ended up giving me his number and told me to come by his place and play him some music, and I did. He liked what he heard, so we brought the whole band in two weeks later and played him a few songs. We didn't have a record label or anything but he just heard something and started working with us."
In a separate interview that Joyce had with Billboard, the producer shared how he responded when, in the middle of a show, Lancaster approached him.
“We kind of had a mutual acquaintance, so I listened,” Joyce briefly stated.
His succeeding statement coincided with Lancaster’s previous words.
“I just invited him over to play a little bit [at the studio], and really liked him as a person, thought he had his s--t together.”
Gaining Popularity and Achieving Success
Not long after Lancaster and Joyce’s conversation, the celebrated record producer signed LANCO to his publishing company. Subsequently, they signed to Arista Nashville who produced the band’s eponymous debut Extended Play (EP). Released on April 15, 2016, the EP comprised of four songs. Two of these songs were released as singles. The first single was entitled “Long Live Tonight” and followed by “Greatest Love Story.” The latter gave the band their first No. 1 single on the country music charts.
Their “Greatest Love Story”
Topping both the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts at the end of 2017, “Greatest Love Story” helped boost LANCO’s name in the music scene. As their record continuously received radio airplay, the band was likewise reaching a wider audience. But don’t you know that there’s one word used in the song that went questionable? That is right, folks. Instead of using the word “truck” in the lyrics, the band decided to use “car.” This spurred controversy among several Nashville songwriters. They even urged the band to make the necessary modification so as to make the song sound more “country.” However, LANCO heeded more to what they feel was right for them.
"At the end of the day you're stuck with this music and you've got to play these shows and live with it the rest of your life," Brandon said. "So if it's honest you can always live with that. It just comes from a place of being as honest as we can, and if that just happens to break a rule while we're at it, then so be it."
Their intuition paid off. The romantic-nostalgic ballad earned them their first country chart-topper. Moreover, the single reached platinum certification even before the release of its album. This, according to Rolling Stone, was a first for any country band in history.
Netflix Propelled them to Stardom
LANCO’s “Greatest Love Story” went unstoppable in racking up success. Its appearance in the Netflix original show The Ranch, which stars Ashton Kutcher, contributed to the band’s increasing popularity. Their single served as the soundtrack to Episode 9 of the show’s first season. Again, the selection of the song happened unexpectedly. At that time, LANCO wasn’t established as a band yet. Staff writers from the show bumped into them while searching for music from up-and-coming country artists. Apart from this being cheaper than having the established artists, the staff found their song fitting for the episode’s emotional theme. After that, “Greatest Love Story” became a smash hit.
Two Nominations for CMT Music Awards
The band received not just one but two nominations for CMT Music Awards for their single “Greatest Love Story.” The titles were Breakthrough Video of the Year and Group Video of the Year. Earlier, the band experienced the same scenario at the Academy of Country Music Awards. They were also nominated for two awards from ACM namely New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. Unfortunately, they have not taken any of those accolades home. Perhaps, the right time has not yet come for them to shine.
After the success of “Greatest Love Story,” LANCO did not stop there. Subsequently, they released their debut album Hallelujah Nights early this year. Debuting at No. 1 on Billboard Top Country Albums chart, the record set a wonderful start of the year for the band. Moreover, their new single “Born to Love You” isn’t far from repeating the success of their breakthrough hit “Greatest Love Story.”
"It's another song that paints pictures of where we come from and our town and our perspective on love and life and how important it is to have someone that's a lens that you see life through,” say Lancaster in an interview.
Their Kind of Music
They Sing True Stories
To make a difference, being feel-good storytellers is what LANCO is trying to achieve through their songs. Apparently, they want their succeeding song “Born to Love You” pick up to where their “Greatest Love Story” left off. But, one of the best things about this band was the fact that they lived the stories they sing. For example, the 9 to 5 job that Lancaster mentioned on the “Greatest Love Story” resonates well with him. And, when he heard his song for the first time on the radio, the lead vocalist couldn’t help but feel proud of his band.
They Make a Soundtrack for Life
Most songs provide a soundtrack for TV shows or films. But LANCO’s music is more than that. Aside from movies, the band’s songs are also used by different people for numerous big moments in their lives. In particular, their songs serve as backdrops for various proposals, weddings, reunions, and many more. For countless times, the band would hear stories from their fans using their music for the momentous occasions of their lives. As Lancaster told Billboard,
"We’ve [also] heard military families that they were reunited after his deployment, and that’s really special. And then you hear people that got together in high school like the song, and then we had an older couple that had known each other decades ago and had gone off and done life on their own and came back together, and now they’re engaged and married. It’s a thing that’s going nationally around the country, people integrating the song into a special moment in their life."
Other Fascinating Facts About Them
They are Real Country Guys
Hailing from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, members of LANCO grew up to live the country music lifestyle. Drawing inspiration from their experiences from the little towns they came from, the group creates music that blended traditional country and rock and roll. If you’ve listened to their songs, you can tell the heavy influence they embody from other country music artists. Their Alabama-inspired single “Middle of the Night,” for instance, speaks a lot of their being authentic country guys. Also, they look up to country outlaw Willie Nelson citing him as one of their greatest influences. Furthermore, Lancaster explained the kind of country guys they are and the music they make. According to him,
“As the people that love country music and listen to country music, we just make the music we like."
A Taylor Swift Fan
This rising country vocal group is pretty lucky for earning the respect of no less than Taylor Swift. The famous singer signified her being a fan of LANCO after giving a nod to the band on a shared playlist back in February this year. This only means that the superstar starts to love the songs that the band plays. After all, Swift started out in the country music genre.
At Route 91 Harvest Festival
A day before the mass shooting, which killed 58 people, at the Las Vegas music festival, LANCO just had a performance. Fortunately, the group had already left the venue when the tragedy occurred. However, the catastrophe which was considered the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. modern history left a traumatic effect on them. Lancaster thought what happened made people have a different look at performing. Nonetheless, he was quick to admit the beauty that lies in it. Hence, the show must go on no matter what.
"Music and these concerts we play are beautiful things. They're chances for thousands of people to ... come together in this moment because you all have these songs in common. You're really a part of something bigger than you. The response to Route 91 is just absolutely refusing to ever let one crazy person take something precious and important away from you."
Returning to Vegas is Important to Them
When Vegas re-opened with the holding of the ACM Awards, this gave many country artists a fresh comeback. Seeing the opportunity that such offered, Lancaster felt it’s necessary to be there too. Despite the loss, there’s still part of the world left that needs the great music artists like them. After all, the entertainment industry is still there and must continue to thrive for those who need it.
"The world is kind of watching us and watching how we're going to respond to this. I think the strongest community in music is the country community," the singer stated.
They are Proud of their Fans
Despite the growing success that LANCO is enjoying: a platinum single, ACM and CMT nominations, a record with 300 million streams, and a performance at the Grand Ole Opry, there’s something that matters more to the band. They consider the people whose lives have been touched by their music – their fans as the main highlight of their career.
"We're telling our stories and people are listening and relating to it. It's impacting lives and changing lives, and that's what we're proudest of—that we've created something people can understand and have a bond with people."
Only One of the Members Remains Single
Putting aside their career success, let’s get more personal with the band. If anyone of you is wondering whether the members are still single, well, all but one is married. While they’re busy working on their first few projects, the members were also giving time to their personal lives. Hence, the past couple of years saw the members tying the knot one after the other.
Howell was married to Allie, his high school sweetheart. On Christmas Eve of 2016, Baldwin married his wife, Natalie. September the following year, Lancaster also tied the knot with his college sweetheart Tiffany Trotter. It was her who inspired the band’s song “Greatest Love Story.” The only member left unmarried is keyboardist Hampton but he is set to marry his girlfriend Autumn in November.
Apart from giving inspiration to the band’s songs, their wives would oftentimes join the crew on the road. Altogether, they make one big family which is LANCO.
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