Cloverton – a band from Manhattan, Kansas – was on the Music Boat this past November. They performed at an industry reception aboard The Majesty of the Seas. They sounded like they were rooted in worship music and the lead singer, Lance, sounded like a “Mac Powell, Jr.” Cloverton is going to be one of those bands that you just won’t be able to forget.
LISA SAPINO: So how does Lance feel about being compared to Mac Powell?
CLOVERTON: …Yeah, we hear that quite a bit. It is probably due to a small Third Day obsession growing up. It’s quite a compliment though. He’s got a pretty unique style/voice.
Your songs are dynamic piano-driven tunes with beautifully written lyrics. Who writes most of the songs?
Our music and lyrics are written by Lance, including the songs on our first demo that we recorded a couple years ago. He’ll bring the songs in to practice and we’ll layer in the guitar and drum parts accordingly. It’s all a process.
Tell me how you came up with the name “Cloverton.”
For the longest time, we didn’t really have a name. In fact, when we were recording our first EP in Nashville, we didn’t even have a name and our producer joked about recording a band without a name. That week, we stayed on a street called “Clovernook.” A few months later, we had to choose a name before showcasing the next day in Nashville before industry. After a little altering, Clover“ton” was thrown into a hat along with a couple other names. Cloverton was the name that got pulled out, and it’s been with us ever since.
How did you meet and come together as a band?
(Lance responding) I was serving as the worship pastor of a brand new church plant in Manhattan, KS. My twin brother, Layne (bass), followed shortly thereafter. We had actually met Tim (lead guitar) through a college worship gathering and had him come and play drums on occasion. A few months into the life of the church, Matt (guitar) started attending/playing on the church worship team and called a former high school classmate of his, Kirby (drums), to fill in when we were without a drummer. A few years later, we began to collectively pursue the band outside of just Sunday worship gatherings.
You all seem to come out of highly musical families and backgrounds. Is that true?
(Lance responding) All of us have had different exposure to music growing up. [As for me and Layne, our] dad was an elementary music teacher. He also taught piano lessons and directed the church choir, so we were constantly around music. Tim comes from a family of musicians. His dad actually sold Layne his first 5-string bass! Matt’s uncle operates a Christian radio station in Manhattan, so Matt’s exposure to Christian music has been timeless. Kirby’s parents were both actively involved in choir, which doesn’t at all explain why Kirby became a self-start drummer.
You won the national Embassy Music Talent Search during Gospel Week in Nashville. Tell me about it. Was that what launched the band?
Before we were even called Cloverton, Lance secretly took a trip to Nashville in 2008 for an Embassy Music Talent Search and Seminar during GMA Week. He went alone, hoping to get an unbiased opinion on some of his music. After winning both the songwriting and performance categories at the event, Lance returned home to share the news with the rest of the band. From there, the band was connected to a producer in Nashville and [we] recorded Cloverton’s first project, a self-titled 5 song EP….
Tell me how you guys like touring, and have you been picked up for a major tour yet?
(Lance responding) Meeting people and hearing their stories is something that we cherish a great deal when out on the road. It’s one thing to read someone’s story; it’s an entirely different thing to hear it face to face. It helps us to connect our stories with their stories. This past summer, we were on the road quite a bit for the Hope Inside Tour. We mapped out, booked, and headlined the tour. The tour name came from our radio single “Hope Inside” in which we partnered with World Vision to continue to generate financial assistance to the victims of the earthquakes in Haiti. That’s the biggest tour we’ve been on to date.
(Matt responding) We all share a deep passion for the Lord and music, and it is a privilege/honor to tour across the country and to share those things with others. We were actually discussing a couple weeks ago that we are blessed to be doing something that we love and get to see a bunch of the country that a “normal” job would not necessarily offer.
When is your first album being released and how can we buy your music now?
Right now, the 5 songs from our first project are found on iTunes and Amazon. We’ve been in the studio this fall with Paul Ebersold and are still working on the new record. The single “Take Me Into the Beautiful” should be coming out near the beginning of the year.
If you had to give a short statement about why Cloverton exists as a band, what would it be?
We exist to reclaim music and creativity as an instrument for reaching all of God’s creation. Music can be such a common ground for people of differing beliefs. We want to expose people to the Truth through messages and melodies that will ultimately point people to Him.