Lockeland: Contemporary Country with a Throwback Twist
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
“Drive” isn’t just the name of the newest single from country trio Lockeland. It is also the character trait that united these three ambitious musicians and fueled their recent UK tour and music video release – all while holding down day jobs. According to band member/guitarist Mark Vikingstad, “You’re putting in hard work for your day job to make the money to put in the hard work for what you want to have as your career – music.”
The band just returned from a UK tour, where they performed five shows throughout Scotland and England, including a performance at the Millport Country Music Festival where they opened for country artist Cam. The following weekend, they performed on the main stage at The Long Road Festival, along with shows in both York and London.
“The entire experience was a highlight for us,” says lead singer Kyndon Oakes. “The people, the local sites, the music history, the food -- all were memorable ‘firsts.’” Drummer Michael Boris added, “Virtually all of the UK country music fans are so incredibly gracious and welcoming to American recording artists.” He observed that UK fans tend to be a “listening” crowd. “When watching a performer onstage, they are completely engaged and focused from the very first downbeat.”
The UK fans were energized in part by the excitement generated from the official music video for Drive, which was released just days before the tour. The video for the upbeat summer anthem was shot on scenic country roads on the outskirts of Nashville, with bar scenes filmed at Redneck Riviera (owned by John Rich of the country duo Big & Rich). In the video, notice the shot (pun intended) of Redneck Riviera Whiskey. John Rich donates a percentage from every sale of his signature brand of whiskey to Folds of Honor, an organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of fallen and disabled service members.
Kyndon says the song Drive “kind of wrote itself” when he and Mark got together with Susie Brown (of the JaneDear girls country duo). “Mark started playing a guitar riff and I thought, 'that sounds like cruising along back roads and driving.’ I came up with the opening line 65 baby blue Ford.” Mark adds, “It was one of those songs where the chord progression led to the lyrics. It felt like driving down the highway with the windows rolled down, just catching that summer breeze in your hand kind of thing.”
Watch the official music video below.
The trio has been writing and performing together for more than a year now. Before that, they were all pursuing solo careers in Nashville.
Michael was the first to move to Nashville 12 years ago (from Upstate New York) when he enrolled at Belmont University. He says, “Music was always in my blood.” His grandmother (and her two sisters) were professional singers in the 1940’s. “They toured all over the country with big bands and had their songs played on the radio.” His father toured worldwide as a professional drummer. Michael started doing fife and drum corps when he was 11 years old, and then played on the worship team at church when he was in high school. He also played classical music and hard rock, and later discovered country music when he moved to Nashville to attend college.
Kyndon also grew up with a musical grandmother (“Mammie”), who would play the piano as he sang. He performed in plays, talent shows, and high school choir. When Kyndon was about 17, he picked up a guitar for the first time. “When I learned how to play guitar, that’s when I started the writing side of things – it was like self-therapy.” He adds, “Growing up in Kansas, you listen to country music – Diamond Rio, Joe Diffie, Colin Raye, mostly 90’s country.” Kyndon played baseball in college, but music was his first love. He made the move to Nashville in 2009.
Around the same time as Kyndon, Mark moved to Music City from Long Island, New York, where he grew up listening to classic rock and the Beatles. He became a country music fan at an early age. “Garth was my first concert -- in Central Park -- and that was the day I decided that I wanted to do music. I was 10.” His musical tastes and influences ranged from 90’s country to pop, punk, and rock. Then in college, he developed a “singer songwriter country kind of style.”
According to Michael, “The three of us have very unique musical influences, yet it all blends to form the Lockeland sound.” So how did two musicians from New York and one from Kansas get together in Nashville to become Lockeland?
Kyndon and Mark met a few years after moving to Nashville and started writing songs together while they were both working on their careers as solo artists. Later, they met Michael through a mutual friend. In early 2018, Kyndon was in the recording studio working on a solo project. Mark and Michael were there to play guitar and drums and add background vocals. They all realized they had something special when they started singing 3-part harmonies. Kyndon remembers, “We were like ‘Man, this sounds good! We should just do this as a trio.’ We decided to hit the ground running, and that’s where Lockeland came about.”
In the spring of 2019, they released their debut single, Til The Cows Come Home, which made the Top 40 on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart. Their next big achievement was playing at CMA Fest.
The group’s “contemporary country with a throwback twist” continues to win over fans. Michael sums it up by saying, “We’ve been truly blessed by lots of people that have just rallied around us. It’s an incredible feeling to have people really believe in our music.”
Now that they’re home from the UK tour, the trio’s plans include “rest, rest, and more rest! Then we’re back in the writer’s room and in the studio putting finishing touches on our next recording project. We are very excited to share some new tunes with everyone!”
For more info, go to www.Lockelandband.com
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FUN FACTS AND TRIVIA
Kyndon has a Bernedoodle (Bernese Mountain Dog and Poodle mix).
Michael will never (again) wear a man bun.
Mark is the only band member who is “off the market.”
Who’s on their playlists?
Mark: John Mayer, The Beatles, Jimmy Eat World, Garth Brooks, classic rock
Michael: random things, ranging from AC/DC to a Tchaikovsky classical piece
Kyndon: Goo Goo Dolls, Train, 90’s country, Eli Young Band, singer-songwriters
Michael: Bongo Java on Belmont Blvd. (he's been going there since freshman year at Belmont)
Kyndon: Oak Steakhouse, STK, Jeff Ruby’s, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Jimmy Kelly’s
Mark: Burger Republic (The Gulch), Umami (Lennox Village), Superica (The Gulch)
Mark: anything Disney, Marvel Universe, or Pixar
Michael: Turn: Washington’s Spies (historical spy thriller)
Kyndon: The Holiday, Disney, and romantic comedies