"I think underneath it all, we're relatable."
LoCash Cowboys are rocking 2011 – quite literally! Their single “Keep in Mind” struck a chord with fans and critics alike, climbing the charts to make it their first Top 40 hit. In May, they made their debut on the prestigious Grand Ole Opry stage, and with that momentum, they roared into June appearing on the Travel Channel and participating in numerous high-profile events at the CMA Music Festival, as well as releasing new single “You Got Me.”
While LoCash Cowboys’ Preston Brust and Chris Lucas have been performing packed houses for years, dating back to the days when they met and started performing at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, the amped-up crowd at CMA Music Festival’s Riverfront performance was living, screaming proof that they have put their time together to good use. Criss-crossing the country, honing their craft on stages large and small, developing one of the most dynamic live shows in any genre of music, the LoCash Cowboys have clearly ascended to new heights as artists.
Along the way, Preston and Chris have sold more than 60,000 copies of their first (homemade) CD, earned endorsements from the likes of Budweiser, shared bills with artists including Charlie Daniels, ZZ Top, Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty, and many others, and toured the country headlining Maxim’s Red Man Roadhouse Tour. They have performed at halftime of NBA and U.S. Olympic team basketball games, at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s SlamiVersary, and on Fox News Network’s New Year’s Eve broadcast in front of two million people in Times Square. They also earned television appearances ranging from the Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation, in which popular host Adam Richman coaches them through a 72-ounce steak challenge, to tackling Tanya Tucker’s reality show “Tuckerville,” to “Pageant School: Becoming Miss America,” writing the theme songs for the latter two.
The duo’s breakthrough is fitting testament to the talent, persistence and hard work that is evident in Chris and Preston, and has been since their earliest years.
Preston Brust was born in Arkansas, but grew up as a preacher’s son in Kokomo, Indiana. Preston sang A Capella in church but had to sneak out to go dancing. He turned out to be a natural, and soon he was choreographing show choirs, ultimately winning a regional grand championship.
“I remember being so excited,” he says, “but then I realized something was still missing for me. I wanted to perform, to share what was inside me as an artist, and not just choreograph for other people. I knew it was time to go to Nashville.”
Growing up in Baltimore, Chris Lucas developed a love for music that spans eras and styles, including everything from Frank Sinatra to Justin Timberlake, with special emphasis on ‘90s R&B and country. Most of Chris’ time and attention as a teenager went to baseball and football. He explains, “Sports is where I learned integrity and all the big lessons about character.”
However, Chris spent his spare time learning break-dancing on the city’s streets, which eventually led him to teach others how to dance. At the urging of a friend, he auditioned for a singing and dancing spot in a theme park show. He worked for Six Flags, Kings Dominion, and other such parks, but he, too, decided to chase his dream to Nashville. Calling on his experiences, he quickly landed jobs as an instructor at two dance studios and at the Wildhorse Saloon. It was at this famous live music and dance destination that Chris met Preston, who had moved to town the day before and was out exploring the town.
“We talked for a while and I offered him a job,” laughs Chris. “I’d been there for a while and had begun to get discouraged, but Preston brought my energy back. We hit it off like brothers and when we found out both of us sang we said, ‘Why don’t we try something together?’”
The duo began writing, performing and recording, devising their strategy on the fly.
“We spent months knocking on the doors of producers and labels,” says Chris, “but then one day it hit us. What we could control was getting out there on the road and making LoCash Cowboys a household name.”
It wasn’t easy,” adds Preston. “We started out in our cars pulling U-Hauls. Then we moved to renting vans, then to buying a van, and then we grew into an old White Eagle Bus we called Ghetto One that we wrecked our first night.”
However, their live show began to do the heavy lifting, with their over-the-top energy winning fans in city after city.
“We became known for just going out and having a good time,” says Chris. “We read each audience. We don’t really have a set list. We just go out and make it fun.”
Eventually, the duo began to attract support from people in the music industry who recognized just how much of the total package they have – great vocals, fantastic stage presence, a unique look, and charisma to burn, as well as a wealth of experience and a work ethic that, to this day, continues to impress everyone who deals with them.
LoCash Cowboys’ turning point came when a mutual friend began taking them to Jeffrey Steele’s house on Sundays for afternoon basketball games. Steele, one of Nashville’s biggest names in songwriting (“The Cowboy In Me,” “What Hurts The Most,” “My Town”) and producing (Montgomery Gentry, Keith Anderson), had never heard a live LoCash show, but “Once we got to know him,” says Chris, “we told him, ‘Someday you’ll be working with us,’” a statement whose fulfillment was pivotal.
Preston recalls the first time Steele came to a show. “Jeffrey was working his way through the crowd. Everybody’s screaming and he can barely get to the stage,” says Preston. “He was almost crowd-surfing his way to the front. He grabbed hold of me in the middle of a song and yelled, ‘I get it! I want to work with you!’ It was a monumental moment.”
Steele, like so many others before and since, caught the “LoCash vision,” and he signed on as their songwriting partner and producer. After building and gathering strength for years, earning a growing legion of fans inside and outside the industry, the LoCash Cowboys reached a significant career turning point.
LoCash Cowboys also caught the attention of James Stroud, acclaimed music producer and veteran label head, who launched Stroudavarious Records in 2008. They signed on with Stroud, and released their debut single “Here Comes Summer” in 2010. It cracked the Top 40 at radio and the accompanying high-energy, summer-lovin’ video peaked inside the Top 5 on the CMT Pure Country and GAC Countdowns.
Their follow-up single, “Keep in Mind,” was written by Steele and hit-maker Shane Minor, and produced by Steele. It reached 35 on the Billboard chart. Calling it “one of the best ballads I’ve ever heard in my life,” radio personality Bob Kingsley, host of the nationally syndicated program “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40” added, “These guys are the real deal.”
While this moving ballad was an unorthodox choice for the perpetually high-energy duo, “The minute Jeffrey played the demo of the song for us, we knew we had to cut it. It’s such a powerful message,” explains Chris.
Adds Preston, “We wanted to show our fans there was a softer side to the LoCash Cowboys.”
While Chris and Preston were enjoying their growing success, it is said that a country music act has not truly made it until it has played the Grand Ole Opry. If that is true, their moment came to fruition in May 2011, when they stepped into the sacred circle on country music’s most revered stage to make their Opry debut.
“When I was just starting my music career, my father and I had the opportunity to go out onto The Opry stage after a show, and I took his photo in the circle,” said Preston. “When he offered to have my picture taken there, I stepped forward but quickly stopped in my tracks and thought to myself, ‘No, your time will come. You have to earn the right to stand there.’ After eight years of hard work, it happened… and it was every bit as magical as I had hoped.”
Chris adds, “It was like winning the Super Bowl. We dreamed about this for a long time. The emotion still is overwhelming.”
Shortly after this monumental performance, Stroudavarious restructured and was renamed R&J Records. With this new label name came a new single, a national television appearance, and numerous appearances at the CMA Music Festival.
“You Got Me,” written by Chris and Preston with bandmate Eric Halbig, is an up-tempo, harmony-laced song about that feeling one gets when falling in love. It was released to radio on June 6, just days before they watched their 72-ounce steak challenge air on the Travel Channel’s new series, Man v. Food Nation, a show that evolved from the Travel Channel’s most popular program, Man v. Food, to give fans the chance to step up to the plate and take on local food challenges.
The segment was taped in March, and it is was difficult for Chris and Preston to withhold the results from their friends, family, and fans, but on June 8, America tuned in to watch as the network’s beloved host, Adam Richman, guided LoCash through their challenge at Rooster’s Texas Style BBQ in Nashville.
The LoCash Cowboys’ Man v. Food Nation segment also coincided with the 2011 CMA Music Festival. The duo made numerous appearances that week including the 7th Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade, a modeling gig at Country Weekly’s 5th Annual Fashion Show and a performance at Hard Rock Café, both benefiting Musicians on Call, participation in the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, and a performance on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, that the Tennessean described as “an energized set packed with up-tempo songs, heavy guitar and attitude to spare.”
Besides singing and performing, Chris and Preston often write songs together, and are signed with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the world’s largest country music publisher. They co-wrote “You Gonna Fly” on Keith Urban’s current album, GET CLOSER, which Keith performed live on FOX’s Super Bowl pre-game telecast. Chris and Preston also penned many of the songs on their forthcoming R&J Records debut album, produced by Steele, who often collaborates on their songwriting efforts.
“We had a few great songs already,” adds Preston, “but writing 40 songs with Jeffrey amounted to honing the vision, defining who and what we are. We knew the whole time that this wasn’t just going to be 11 or 12 songs on a record. We knew it would be the debut of what the world will know as LoCash.”
This album titled THIS IS HOW WE DO IT, is a fitting introduction to a compellingly charismatic duo; a well-rounded album that captures all the excitement of their stage performance while displaying a softer, more philosophical side as well. The project’s “You Got Me,” is the best of both worlds – quite simply, it is a love song that rocks.
The core of the album is a series of high-energy manifestos, songs that celebrate the unabashed fun of the LoCash lifestyle, the conviction that the best things in life are free or at least low-cash. Songs like “Fresh Off The Farm,” with its riff-laden punch and inventive harmonies, “Here Comes Summer,” with its free-wheeling look at beach season, “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y,” an ode to the joys of country life, “Get Down,” a bit of country rap, “She Goes Loco,” a name-dropping tour-de-force, and “This Town Needs A Parade,” which is as close to a recorded party as country music has ever seen, adds up to a guided tour through LoCash territory. But, fans can also hear “Right Here In Front Of You,” a passionate expression of romantic love, and “Keep In Mind,” both vivid examples of the depth and tenderness lurking within the LoCash heart. To top it off, there is “Independent Trucker,” an up-tempo country joyride that includes none other than George Jones, and “This Is How We Do It,” the title cut that ties it all together with a high-energy bow.
Overall, R&J Records release of THIS IS HOW WE DO IT brings together two of the most important elements of the LoCash Cowboys’ story – their ability to capture fans with their live performances, and their heart for humanitarian work, especially with young people.
Chris and Preston actively participate in charitable foundation work. They have helped to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, W.O. Smith School, T.J. Martell Foundation, the Alex Le’Vasseur Memorial Fund established by Jeffrey Steele, and are spokespersons for D.A.R.E.
“We’re like stage Marines,” laughs Preston. “We walk out, take one look at the audience and attack. We never let up, whether it’s a thirty-minute appearance or a four-hour show. The energy stays at a peak the entire time.”
Behind that energy is a world of industry knowledge put to good use.
“Everything we do is well thought out and part of a business plan,” says Chris. “It feels kind of out of control and crazy, but in reality, I don’t know two other guys who put this kind of time, effort, passion, drive, determination, creativity and initiative into making our ideas, music and dreams become reality.”
As they prepare to allow THIS IS HOW WE DO IT take them nationwide, Chris and Preston are aware of the dichotomy in their humble roots and larger-than-life personas and achievement.
“I think underneath it all, we’re relatable,” says Preston. “Chris and I are real guys. You can get behind the smoke and mirrors pretty quickly, and we’re still just these two guys from Indiana and Baltimore.”
They are also aware that the whole is bigger than the sum of the incredible network of parts that has brought them here.
“If you tried to line up the stars like this, it would never happen,” says Preston. “It really feels like magic and destiny.”
For their growing legion of fans, it is also the hard-won triumph of that combination of talent and energy that is the LoCash Cowboys.
Keep in Mind
You Got Me