Met these 5 guys from Oklahoma in January of last year and immediately fell in love with their music, their passion, their harmonies and their humor. And even though I’m not normally a big fan of drinking songs I am digging their latest single “Whiskey on My Grave!” It had been too long since I interviewed them, as a lot has happened including winning an Emmy so it was a great opportunity to get caught up!
Katie: How did the band come to be?
The band: Initially, Kyle (lead vocalist) was contacted by what would become our record label, Landrun records, about putting together a group to appear in a film. Kyle knew Sherman Haynes (drums, bvg’s) and Zach Felts (acoustic guitar, bgv’s) from college and quickly sought them out. At the time, the three were students at the University of Oklahoma’s Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM@UCO), a new program dedicated to the study of popular music. For lack of a better term, one might call it rock and roll college. He also recruited Michael Hines (bass, bgv’s), an associate and friend from his tenure at Oklahoma City’s rodeo opry. In what could be described as a strange twist of fortune, the film production fell through. The band, however, endured. Later we recruited Nick Work, another ACM@UCO student, to fill the vacant lead guitar position. The rest, as they say, is history.
Katie: Lower 40 is made up of 5 guys who all have very different music backgrounds but the love of music is prevalent in all of y’all. How do you think all of the differences work together?
The band: We’re certainly a diverse group of individuals. This helps to create a unique sound that encompasses the gamut of our influences. We feel this makes our music,and especially our live shows, a more inclusive experience. Being five sons of Oklahoma country music is infused in our DNA, however we try to write songs that would appeal to anyone regardless of the geographic circumstances of their birth. Ultimately, we just want to connect with people through our music. If we can channel all of these different life experiences and backgrounds into something that has a positive impact on someone’s life then we’re all for it.
Katie: What would be the ultimate gig for y’all?
The band: We hope to one day be the first band to play on the Moon. This would probably require some sort of moon dome or colony, but we’ll let NASA figure that out. Obviously this is not feasible at present but we are cautiously optimistic about the future. Sure, we would be ecstatic to play basically anywhere that there are people who appreciate what we do, but, to play in the moon would truly be the Ultimate gig. All unfeasible hypothetical scenarios aside, we’re always delighted to be allowed to share the stage with some of the most talented bands and artists in the genre. We’ve played on bills with artists such as Johnny Lee, Randy Rogers, and Sammy Hagar, just to name a few. Any of those experiences can safely be described as ultimate. However, if through some miracle we could open for the Eagles, that would most definitely take the cake. Though it could be argued that the likelihood of this actually is happening is only marginally larger than the chance that we’ll actually play on the moon. Realistically though, we’re happy to play with anyone. We would especially love to get an opportunity to play with any number of the great artists from Oklahoma: Blake Shelton, Garth Brooks (we can dream right?), Vince Gill. The list goes on and on but we’d be thrilled to play with any of them.
The band: The Emmy is truly an amazing honor. For several years we have had a fantastic relationship with KFOR and KAUT 43. We have done numerous commercials and various on air apperances. At some point they contacted our management about filming a commercial for the Tonight Show and the 10 o’clock news. They gave us some rough lyrics that contained all of the information that they wanted us to convey. We then figured out how the musical accompaniment should sound and refined the lyrics to fit the song structure. Once we had it recorded, the fine folks at KFOR and our label figured out the logistics of the actual commercial shoot. We filmed at Trevino’s Mexican restaurant in Newcastle Oklahoma. Some of our fans turned up to be extras in the crowd. It was a great experience. The Emmy win really took us by surprise. None of it would have been possible without the hard work put in by KFOR and our label.
Katie: What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2015?
The band: 2015 has been an exciting year for us thus far and shows no signs of slowing down. We’re focusing a lot on writing and rehearsing new material. We have been working with some amazing songwriters in Nashville. We also have a single out this summer called “Whiskey on My Grave.” We’re excited to see where it takes us this year. As always, we’ll be hitting the road and playing shows. We hope to see you there.
Wanna find out more about this band? www.lower40music.com
Now, here’s their single “Whiskey On My Grave!” Enjoy!