The country band LOCASH arrives at Pimlico Race Course May 20 after a remarkable past year-and-a-half. The duo of Baltimore's Chris Lucas and Indiana native Preston Brust has notched two Top 10 country singles in "I Love This Life" and "I Know Somebody" and is one of the featured performers on the Preakness infield.
You might imagine that given the band's well-known "party" persona and Lucas being a native Baltimorean (he attended Archbishop Spalding) that the gig wouldn't represent the first time he's partied at Preakness. But you'd be wrong.
"I'm going to be honest with you, I've never been," Lucas said in a
Glenn Clark Radio interview May 19.
"I've never been to the Preakness, I've always wanted to go. Not only am I performing at it, it is my first time going to Preakness."
Lucas is humbled to be making his Preakness debut as a performer.
"It's a wow factor for me," Lucas said. "It's definitely something I've always wanted to go to and, heck, play. It's just a fantastic thing that I can come home to Baltimore with a couple No. 1's under our belt and just be proud. Be proud to be where I am, be proud of that city, I love our city. Baltimore's such a great place. And the Preakness has been going on for years -- and to be one of the Triple Crown [races], I mean, it's unheard of. It really is. It's a pinch-me moment."
While Brust is not a Baltimorean, he said partnering with Lucas has allowed him to be adopted by the city via proxy. Baltimore fans have really only ever has one issue with his Indiana roots.
"Yeah man, everybody's embraced me, really great," Brust said. "It's been awesome. Me and Chris are like brothers. I remember the first time I came to town, his Uncle Tony was a little upset with me. He accused me of stealing the Colts and driving the Mayflower truck to Indy. But I had nothing to do with it. I was a little boy when that happened.
Playing Preakness will be far from the first time the band has intertwined with the sports world. In fact, it was a sports moment that helped make them realize they had arrived as their own band after years of writing hit songs for other performers.
"I tell you what, one of the most defining moments was we were doing a show out on a ranch Fourth of July out in Montana," Brust said. "And it was for Eddie DeBartolo, the former owner of the 49ers. And we're up there, man, and we're doing our show and we look in the front row -- I mean right on the front row just rocking out is [Hall of Fame quarterback] Joe Montana and his entire family. And I was like, 'Now this is a pretty big deal.'"
More importantly for Lucas, the duo has become sort of the unofficial band of the Baltimore Orioles.
"What's really funny is [Orioles manager] Buck [Showalter[ is a LOCASH fan," Lucas said. "He called us and asked us about two years ago to come down to the clubhouse down there in spring training and perform for the guys. You know, make everybody relax. We did three or four songs acoustic while we were in there.
"It's a chill moment. For us to be in that clubhouse and singing for those guys -- our dream, everybody's dream, was to be a professional baseball player at some point. And they're living the dream, and we are in our own way, too. So it's a really cool moment, and we thank Buck all the time when he invites us."
Not only has the band performed privately for the team, but center fielder Adam Jones had them perform last year at his annual charity pregame Ravens tailgate.
"Adam's become a really good friend of ours," Lucas said. "I talk to him all the time now. He's just a great guy; he's an icon in baseball. What he does for Baltimore City with the Girls and Boys Clubs, that's something that is natural. It's him. He's a class act. I love being friends with him."
Jones isn't the only Oriole to have jelled with the band.
"[Designated hitter Mark] Trumbo is actually a country music artist," Lucas said.
Has the duo ever invited him to perform alongside them?
"We tried to, but then he went and saw [country artist] Kip Moore the night we were going to do that, so I'm totally not his friend anymore," Lucas said jokingly.
"[Shortstop] J.J. Hardy walks to the plate with our song 'I Love This Life,'" Brust said. "So right now, J.J. and Adam got my vote [for favorite Orioles]. "Trumbo's got one more shot if he shows up at one of our shows."
Since the guys are in town for the Preakness, they'll also be stopping by to see the Birds May 21.
"Actually, Sunday we're throwing out the first pitch for the Orioles," Lucas said. "I can't wait, man. I think me and Preston might get drafted after that. We might stop singing and just go for it."
Said Brust: "I'm pretty sure I won't be drafted."
For more from LOCASH, including how you can support them after being nominated for CMT's "Duo of the Year," listen to the full interview here: