Lanco Sees Country Music Their Own Way on Debut Album ‘Hallelujah Nights’

After a chance encounter with a record producer at a Keith Urban concert in 2013, the denim-clad gang of country musicians known as Lancohave been on the rise. For their debut album “Hallelujah Nights” out Jan. 19, lead singer Brandon Lancaster leads the all-male outfit into a comforting mix of country and easy-listening rock – on their own terms.

The band name comes from a mashup of Lancaster and Company, a name they shortened so it would more easily “fit on a koozie.” And when “Hallelujah Nights” is streaming from your wireless speaker on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you’ll want that koozie in your hand. While not all of the album fits within the country music motif of sipping cold beer on a summer day, some songs sure do. “Trouble Maker” most certainly falls within this category. Lancaster and his bandmates have crafted an ass-shaking country song replete with slide guitar and an infatuation with a certain show-stopping woman. “I’m just a guy who appreciates what her momma gave her” he sings before coming to the conclusion that his advances are no match for a fiercely independent woman. The feel-good tone on the pop-friendly “Win You Over” too fits in the “good vibes” context while the bluegrass-inspired “Middle of the Night” takes a different approach to the same feeling.

The rest of the album is rife with sincerity and a real earnestness to portray the band’s personality. The opening “Born to Love You” takes to easy-going rock to tell the story of (presumably) Lancaster’s Tennessee upbringing through lyrics such as “I was a wild child between lost and found” and confessing where he comes from “Friday night lights decide your fate.” The clear standout on the record is the heartfelt “Greatest Love Story.” Here, Lancaster pins an open letter to his soul mate by way of a minimal guitar-bass-drums love song. From adolescence hijinks (“But you was sneaking out your window every night, riding shotgun in my car”) to the simple song-ending proposal (“So baby so yes to me”), there’s nothing but tear-jerking moments here. And by the way, Lanco takes pride in their non-bro, non-conformist take on country. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Lancaster said of the Nashville country experts trying to get him to change the word “car” to “truck” because it’s more relatable to rural fans, “Like, why does it have to be a truck? People drive cars, and most importantly, I drove a car.”

In that same interview, Lancaster went on to say he’s very happy with the way he and the band have portrayed themselves on this album. To Lanco, contrary to the tropes that may follow the genre around, country music is, in fact, adaptable. By not chasing conformity on their debut – an obviously seminal moment in a young band’s career – they’ve managed to set themselves apart from the pack. Keep an ear out for Lanco on your local country music station, or hell, look for them at next year’s CMA Awards.

Hallelujah Nights” is available Jan. 19 on Apple Music.