LANCO bassist Chandler Baldwin realized his life was about to change this past Labor Day, at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. The rising country quintet was closing out its set opening for Sam Hunt with its single “Greatest Love Story,” which was beginning to climb the country charts at that point. “I swear, all 13,000 people in the crowd started singing it,” recalls Baldwin. “My wife was at that show and she got it on video. [During] that first chorus, I looked over at her like, ‘Oh, man, this is working.’”
“Greatest Love Story” reached the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart three months later, thanks in part to the midtempo ballad’s affecting imagery and story construction. Frontman Brandon Lancaster says he aspired to not just score a hit when he started songwriting, but to deliver something that was stop-you-in-your-tracks memorable, and ultimately timeless. “I remember hearing [Randy Travis’ song] ‘Three Wooden Crosses’ when I was 18 and being really moved by it,” says Lancaster, now 28. “It’s one of those songs I had heard before, and for some reason I stayed in my car in a parking lot and listened to the whole thing. I remember thinking, ‘If I could ever do that, it’d be so cool.’” Four years after forming LANCO in Nashville along with Baldwin, 25; drummer Tripp Howell, 28; guitarist Eric Steedly, 27; and multi-instrumentalist Jared Hampton, 26, Lancaster (the band’s name is short for “Lancaster and Co.”) has done just that as the leader of a collective.