One singer might be a force, but five is a family. It’s impossible to deny: there’s just something about the power of a band, where songs form a bond thicker than blood. Which speaks to so many different corners of the music lover’s heart. That experience is at the core of LANCO – singer and lyricist Brandon Lancaster, Chandler Baldwin (bass guitar), Jared Hampton (keyboards), Tripp Howell (drums) and Eric Steedly (guitar) – and their version of modern country that’s fit for arenas but sounds equally sweet on the jukebox of a local honkytonk. It’s a collective effort from five artists with solid southern roots that rocks and twangs equally, making songs like “Greatest Love Story,” their 2x PLATINUM multi-week radio chart-topper, resonate like few others: one part classic, one part cutting edge and completely honest.
The single’s success was just the beginning. Following up with the critically acclaimed GOLD hit “Born To Love You,” the tracks stem from LANCO’s No. One selling debut and coming-of-age album, HALLELUJAH NIGHTS – an album that made them the first Country group to debut on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts at No. One in 10 years. The five-piece band continues to pave its course with the release of their newest single, “What I See,” instantly garnering praise from fans and critics alike as the “ear candy” (Music Row) earned the group career-high radio adds and boasts over 8 million streams to date.
Through “What I See” LANCO “builds from simplicity to epic grandeur” (Music Row) as they fuse together a modern twist on sentimental memories that are combined with a fresh mix of organic sounds. Filled with their signature anthemic melodies and sing-along choruses the “devastatingly universal concept” (Taste of Country) is another example of how LANCO “makes music that matters and sounds original,” (Planet Weekly). The new single also served as the name behind their headlining WHAT I SEE TOUR where “the crowd-pleasing country-rock quintet” (Chicago Daily Herald) was known to deliver “giant singalongs” (St. Louis Dispatch).
The new music from the ACM “New Group of the Year” follows multiple nominations from from the CMT, CMA, ACM, AMA, and iHeartAwards, while Lancaster became the first member of a group to ever win NSAI’s “Songwriter/Artist of the Year.” In a few short years, LANCO has gone from playing to audiences of thirty to playing festivals like Bonnaroo and Stagecoach, providing direct support on tours for some of Country music’s biggest names, and delivering their own headlining runs to capacity crowds. In a story that could have only formed in the south, Lancaster started writing songs in his early teenage years – and, growing up in Tennessee, country music was as intrinsic to his childhood as skyscrapers are to New York City.
“It’s weird to say that country is an influence, because it was almost a part of growing up,” says Lancaster, whose father made sure to school him on southern rock, too. “It was the most prevalent thing going on.” But Lancaster was also a sponge, devouring vinyl as fast as iTunes and listening to everything from Kings of Leon to Keith Urban and Bob Dylan, deconstructing what makes a band great, a lyric powerful and melody unforgettable.
It was in college where Lancaster met his band mates, all on a search to meld their country background with a wide ranging appreciation of music from all genres: from Steedly’s taste for Stevie Ray Vaughan to Howell’s love of hip-hop. At the root, though, was always country music. “There’s a reason we are in country music.” Indeed, nothing can get them going like a good Alabama or Willie Nelson song. “We’re just five guys with different influences trying to make music the way our heroes did for us,” adds Steedly.
It was another hero that helped create one of LANCO’s most iconic moments.
At a concert one night – where he was working concessions at the hotdog stand – Lancaster mustered up the courage to stop producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Cage the Elephant) – not looking for anything but to tell him he was a true fan, still in his uniform and name tag. The encounter lead to Lancaster leaving with Joyce’s number, but it was weeks later when he finally threw caution to wind and gave him a call. Joyce asked him what he wanted in life, point blank. “I said, ‘I want to be an artist, I want to be a songwriter, and I’m going to keep working at the hotdog stand until I do.’ He said, ‘OK, come over to my studio tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.'” Lancaster was floored, and the five members of LANCO showed up the next day armed with their instruments and an arsenal of songs, ultimately resulting in their self-titled four-song debut EP and marking the start of LANCO’s pathway to success.
With a love for honest songs and music that pushes the genre forward, LANCO strives to maintain a limitless mentality without ever losing sight of where they’ve been. It’s an approach that is even clearer in their live shows, which are some of the most dynamic concert experiences around. “We’re never afraid to make the most of a moment,” says Lancaster. “Other people stand on stage, but we’re going to jump in the crowd, kick a drum set over. We never want to have any boundaries.”
There are no boundaries, either, when it comes to the people they touch: LANCO is short for the band’s original name, “Lancaster Company,” which was meant to not only include each other, but each and every fan connects to their songs.
“There is a culture to LANCO,” says Hampton. “We do this because we love country music, but also because everything we feel and sing about, someone else does too. That’s the biggest power there is.”
“It’s just five guys,” adds Lancaster, “being as honest as we can be.”