There's a reason why country music has fewer bands than it does solo artists and duos: Navigating the logistical challenges and multiple artistic visions that come with the territory can be hard work. As the frontman of the up-and-coming country five-piece Lanco, Brandon Lancaster is uniquely aware of the advantages and disadvantages that come along with performing as a group.

"I think a lot of the disadvantages are more logistical, especially early on," Lancaster explains. "When you play a venue, you're splitting the pay -- that kind of thing. A solo artist can hire a guitar player to do a show with him, but then if that artist doesn't have a show for a few weeks, the guitarist can continue to play for other people and continue to make money, for example."

When Lanco first began performing as a band, all five members knew they needed to commit fully to the project in order to make the group work.

"After we started working on a record, we didn't have the time to work real jobs [outside of music]," Lancaster goes on to say. "We had to keep playing shows because we all had to pay rent. There was no Plan B."

The early stages of a band's career are an extreme exercise in trust: Each of Lanco's five members had to rely on the other four to be fully dedicated to making the dream work, and the stakes were high. However, Lancaster says, there's an upside to that kind of partnership.

"You have creative accountability," he explains. "You have four other guys to hold you accountable."

Lancaster also believes that the high stakes of coming into country music as a group also provide the possibility of a high payoff: "When a band works, it really works. That's the thing," he says. "It's kind of all or nothing.

"When Alabama works, it works," he goes on to say. "In any genre, whether it be a band like the Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or anything else, there's a lot of musical camaraderie and diverse influences that you can put into your music. It's not just on the weight of one person.

"For me, the creative advantages far outweigh the disadvantages," Lancaster adds.

Despite the challenges that accompany performing in a band, Lancaster wouldn't have it any other way. Lanco, which developed into a band out of a strong foundation of friendship, is greater than the sum of its parts.

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