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Higher ground

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Local country band Lower 40 — with a top 30 single and having had shows in front of audiences numbering in the thousands — ostensibly became a band because of vocalist Kyle Earhart’s height.

In 2011, Land Run Records needed a band to be in a film.

“They had this vision of a trio-type band where there is a tall singer,” Earhart said. “I’m 6-foot-5, so that made sense.”

Lower 40 initially just wrote music for the soundtrack, and the movie never ended up happening. At that point, the band realized their own potential as a group and started playing shows and writing together.

But Earhart is not sad about that turn of events.

“The movie falling through was probably one of the best things that happened to this band,” he said.

Other members of the band include guitarists Nick Work and Zach Felts, bassist Michael Lloyd and drummer Sherman Haynes. They all come from Oklahoma, but they each bring unique backgrounds to the music.

“When we write our songs, it’s about our experiences,” Lloyd said. “And even though we are all from Oklahoma, we have all lived different lives. Some of us got to go to river parties, and some of us had bonfires in pastures.”

The band is acutely aware of its Oklahoma roots, and its members realize that their upbringings are different than a lot of people they could potentially reach with their music.

“What we love about music is the ability it gives people from all over with completely different lives to connect to one another and create invisible communities,” Felts said.

If
any young country band from Oklahoma is poised for this sort of
cross-regional success, it is Lower 40. The height of the lead singer
aside, every member of the band brings years of experience and talent to
the group.

They all
attended ACM@UCO, and their musical talent and professional aplomb
helped their first single, “Call Me Crazy,” reach the top 30 in the
Texas regional charts, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New
Mexico and Texas.

In
addition, the band has opened for huge country artists like Sammy Hagar,
Scotty McCreery, Gretchen Wilson and Thomas Rhett. They also recently
headlined the Jake FM Birthday Bash, performing for an audience of
2,500.

Earhart explained how these big shows were essential in spreading knowledge of the band through wordof-mouth buzz.

“That’s
what the music industry is about: sharing music,” he said. “People will
say, ‘Hey, have you heard this band? I heard them last night for the
first time.’ I think our Facebook and Twitter have doubled alone in fans
this year, just from those three or four big shows.”

But people would not have this reaction if not for the band’s tight sound and shared chemistry on stage.

“When
we’re on stage, we’re in a whole other world. All five of us together
are in the same mentality,” Earhart said. “It’s like a twin thing, but
between all five of us.”

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