LANCO’s nostalgic “First Beer” is built on memory: That first drink, first night out or first party that is a pivotal moment in so many people’s lives, even if the surrounding details are a little hazy.
Bandmates Brandon Lancaster and Tripp Howell co-wrote the song with The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston, inspired by their own “first beers” and other hallmark moments from their younger days. For Lancaster, that meant thinking back to the biggest moment in his career as a high school athlete, and realizing that while the memory is crystal clear, the details have started to fade over the years.
“I remember asking Tripp — we both played sports in high school — and I truly don’t remember the score to my last game ever,” the singer tells Country Now. “I know we lost! And that moment was the biggest moment in my life at the time. But I can’t even tell you what the score was.”
Lancaster, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday on Saturday (April 30), is old enough to remember memorizing his friends’ landlines in high school, but young enough to remember trading in those memorized numbers for a cell phone with a contact list.
“I was thinking about my buddy’s telephone number…I used to have those memorized by heart and I don’t remember them anymore,” he explains. “Really, [writing the song was about] pulling from those experiences that were real life experiences…but emphasizing that the reason you really remember it is because of the person you were with.”
The LANCO bandmates filmed their acoustic performance of “First Beer” at Nashville venue The Basement. Lancaster explains that they wanted to both spotlight the importance of the independent Music City venues that have been struggling amid pandemic shutdowns, and also recapture some of the live venue feeling that the band has missed so much while off the road.
“It was the first time that we’d actually gotten together and gone through our songs and just played,” he points out. “When you’re writing, it’s a little different. But to actually go through and sit down and enjoy making music with each other, it was refreshing. It was much needed.”
Plus, for Lancaster and his co-writer and bandmate Howell, the Basement is the setting for a special musical memory in both of their lives — one of the pivotal, memorable life moments that inspired “First Beer” back when they were writing it. That moment also happens to involve their co-writer, Jaren Johnston, and it took place back when Lancaster and Howell were new to Nashville, and didn’t know Johnston, except as fans.
“Actually, I’m just realizing this — it’s funny we did it at the Basement, because I was a fan of The Cadillac Three, and not long after Tripp and I moved to Nashville, one of the first shows we saw together and the first time we saw The Cadillac Three live was at the Basement,” he says.
They would go on to tour together and become friends, although prior to penning “First Beer,” they’d never written a song together.
“It was the first time we had written together, but it was cool because it was very natural,” he says. “Because we had all become friends and we’re fans of each other, it was really natural to just get in the room and create together, bring each other’s influences and vibes into a song.”
Click above to watch the just-released “First Beer” acoustic video.