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Lanco shares advice on making it in the music biz

January 24, 2019
The members of Lanco include Brandon Lancaster on lead vocals and guitar, Tripp Howell on drums, Eric Steedly on guitar, Jared Hampton on keyboards and Chandler Baldwin on bass.

Yes, a lot of times the bigger cities get the biggest tours on the circuit. But occasionally, towns like Huntington are in a position to get some of the coolest shows on the concert trail. That is the case with the Luke Combs show happening Friday, Feb. 1 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.

It was but a short few years ago that Combs was playing in small clubs in his hometown of Asheville, located in the mountain region of western North Carolina. Combs released his first EP in 2014, and by 2017 he had a Number 1 hit album on the country music charts with This One’s For You.

A couple of months ago, Combs won the CMA Award for New Artist of the Year and he is currently nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist category. In other words, Combs is on the rise, and it is likely that this concert was booked before these honors happened. That is in Huntington’s favor.

Along with Combs, this concert bill also features Lanco and Jameson Rodgers.

Lanco is another band that is rising up in the country music world and their story is a matter of working out an original sound combined with putting themselves in the right place at the right time.

The members of Lanco include Brandon Lancaster on lead vocals and guitar, Tripp Howell on drums, Eric Steedly on guitar, Jared Hampton on keyboards and Chandler win on bass.

Baldwin on bass. Formed in 2015, Lancaster and the rest of his Lanco bandmates released a video of the song “Greatest Love Story” on Youtube in 2017 and to date it has garnered an astounding 95 million views.

Lancaster met Howell at a music festival in Cleveland, TN, when both played for different bands. They reunited when Howell moved to Nashville. Once they decided to create a new group together, they brought in Steedly, Hampton and Baldwin and the lineup has stayed the same since then.

After Lanco was formed, the goal was to somehow land a record deal and make their way onto the country music scene. That is also the goal, of course, of thousands of other musicians who migrate to Music City USA.

“We got two pieces of advice early on, because honestly, we didn’t know anybody in Nashville,” said Howell. “The line we heard was, ‘If you stay in town long enough, if you stand in line long enough, you will get your shot.’ What that means is that if you are in town and you’re playing out, eventually someone will stumble into some bar and you will get a chance to impress them. It could be an assistant or a president of a record label, you never know. Now, sometimes we go out with some of our friends at our record label and

I think many people would be shocked to know that somebody from Sony Records is just sitting there listening to them, and they don’t know it.”

The other piece of advice that the members of Lanco heard in Nashville was “You have to be present to win.”

“Whether it was downtown or mid-town, we went to any industry hang that we could go to,” said Howell. “We were just mingling. We were in there trying to show people our music and to make friends and relationships. We did that for a long time. Then, one night Brandon was working at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at a hot dog stand during a Keith Urban concert and he saw this guy walk by. So, he shut down his register and walked up to him and began to talk with him about music. It turned out to be Jay Joyce, who would become our future producer, who has worked with Eric Church, Little Big Town, Brothers Osborne and others.”

Joyce invited Lanco to audition at his studio and he gave them a multi-song shot right there in front of him. By the fourth tune, he was ready to sign them up.

Since then, the band has found success, which leads them to the Big Sandy Superstore Arena next Friday.

“When we got our first record deal, it was cool because we went from working at terrible jobs that we didn’t really want to do to recording an album,” said Howell. “At the time, I was cutting rugs at a carpet warehouse and sweeping the floors at night. I come from Dalton, GA, which is the ‘Carpet Capital of the World’ and all of my family has been in the carpet business their whole lives and I thought that might be my future as well. I know there are a lot of stories out there, but we really did go from working various day jobs to playing music for a living.”

The next thing the members of Lanco knew, they were hearing their songs on the radio and they made a video that has 95 million views and counting.

“For us five guys, we don’t ever really sit around and think about that stuff,” said Howell.

“When we’re on the bus, we never talk about those things as we really enjoy playing music. But, there will be moments when someone will point that out and I don’t know how to respond to it. To me, 95 million views on a video is crazy. It’s absurd. It’s a lot of people. But, that is the reason you make music, so people can connect with your songs. I can remember when Brandon played that song for the first time after he had just written it, because it made me feel a certain way. The fact that the song affects many other people that way is a really cool feeling. Now, in concert, when the audience sings that song back to us; it is the best feeling on earth.”

The Luke Combs show featuring Lanco and Jameson Rodgers will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. More information can be found at bigsandyarena.com and 800-745-3000.

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