Country up-and-comers Lanco started off 2018 in style by hitting the road as an opening act on Chris Young's Losing Sleep Tour, which kicked off in Indianapolis, Ind., on Jan. 11. That's not the only tour the group has planned for 2018, though: This summer, they've been tapped to join Dierks Bentley and fellow opening act Brothers Osborne on Bentley's Mountain High Tour.

For a newer band, touring with a more established artist is a chance to learn how to entertain a large crowd, both by watching the show every night and by developing a mentor-mentee relationship with a more seasoned musician. Lanco's frontman, Brandon Lancaster, says that Bentley and Young are both artists the group particularly looks up to.

Lancaster and his bandmates first met Young a few years ago, before Lanco had achieved success in their own right. Still, "[e]ven back then, he was so nice and was almost a mentor to us," Lancaster recalls. "We played a show with him in New York, and he gave us some advice.

"[Young] is a guy that we respect so much, and we've been fans of his for a long time," Lancaster adds. "It's been so cool to come full circle and now be on the road with him."

As the group tours with Young and fellow opening act Kane Brown, Young still feels like a mentor to Lancaster, but the tour has brought them closer as friends, too.

"It's been an incredible show," Lancaster says. "[Brown] is a buddy of ours, and now we also look at [Young] as a friend as well as a mentor. It's been great to be on the road with people who aren't just great artists, but also good friends of ours."

For his part, Bentley has said that he puts a lot of thought into positively impacting the opening musicians he brings on tour. In many ways, he learned how to be a tour mentor from opening for Kenny Chesney, and part of touring, for Bentley, is creating a fun, memorable environment backstage.

"I want these guys to walk away thinking, 'We never had more fun opening for anybody!'" Bentley commented at a separate press conference early this year. "[Both Lanco and Brothers Osborne] are going to be headlining their own things very, very soon, so I want this to be the tour they talk about the way I talk about touring with Kenny."

As he did with Young, Lancaster began purely as a fan of Bentley's: "I don't know if he'd like me saying this because it'd make him feel old, but I've listening to [Bentley] literally since high school," Lancaster explains. "I'm such a fan of his, and such a fan of his career."

Playing shows with Bentley isn't just entertainment for Lanco, however: It's an invaluable learning experience.

"His live shows are everything we could want a live show to be," the singer goes on to say. "He takes these songs and just brings them to life in a crowd. There's so much energy."

That onstage energy is something Lancaster hopes to create with his own band: "What [Bentley] does is exactly what I want to do. It's exactly what we're trying to accomplish," he says. "He's someone we really look up to and want to emulate."

To stay up to speed on the latest tour dates and the busy year Lanco have planned, visit the group's website.

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