Lance Roark is one of the latest in a long list of Oklahoma artists that need to be on everyone’s radar.
If you are a Turnpike Troubadours fan, you may have recently come across Roark’s name through news of their forthcoming record A Cat in the Rain and upcoming tour dates.
If you were following Turnpike’s band members during the hiatus, you may have been familiar with Roark for a while now. Either way, Lance Roark is a name you need to know.
Hailing from the Tahlequah area in Northeast Oklahoma, where Turnpike has its origins, Roark met Turnpike bassist and founding member RC Edwards at a local open mic in 2021 while the band was still in the midst of their hiatus.
Impressed by what he had heard in Roark, Edwards subsequently invited him to join his band RC and the Ambers. The two artists began to collaborate and write frequently, and Roark has been a member of his band ever since.
Turnpike’s hiatus officially came to a halt as the greatest band of all time made their triumphant return to the stage in 2022, and now that news has come out of a new album and dozens of tour dates, Roark’s name seems to be popping up quite a bit more on the country music scene.
As more information surrounding Turnpike’s upcoming record A Cat in the Rain began to circulate earlier this month, mostly as a result of Josh Crutchmer’s riveting Rolling Stone article, it became apparent just how bullish the Turnpike guys are on Roark. So much so that a track he co-wrote alongside Edwards titled “Chipping Mill” will be featured on the album
Moreover, Roark will be playing support for Turnpike at two of their biggest shows of the year, taking the stage before them on the second night of their three night stands at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville (August 11) and at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth (December 29).
While those will be the biggest shows of his career to date, Roark will also open for Turnpike fiddle player Kyle Nix and his band Kyle Nix and the 38’s this weekend in Fort Smith, AR. He played shows in support of both Jason Boland & the Stragglers and Charlie Robison this month, and the big shows just keep coming it seems, as he was also recently added to a couple of stops on Koe Wetzel’s summer tour in Idaho Falls, ID, along with Pecos & the Rooftops, and in Casper, WY along with Casey Donahew.
The newfound publicity, and big time shows, come at a convenient time for Roark, considering he recently released his debut record Better Man on March 31.
And when you give this album a listen, which I highly recommend you make a priority, it’s easy to see how Roark caught, and has continued to keep, the attention of the Turnpike Troubadours and so many other artists.
An imaginative songwriter and deft lyricist, who seems to gain inspiration from the rural Northeast Oklahoma landscape and his experiences in it, much like Evan Felker, Roark’s eight track debut is an impressive collection of songs that showcase his writing prowess and distinct vocal abilities that deliver his lyrics so perfectly.
Throughout the eight tracks, Roark proves his versatility with a diverse sound and varying song content that still manages to flow seamlessly between each track, roping in the listener and leaving them wishing the album would never end.
It does not take long, when listening to Better Man, to understand what it is that Edwards and other members of Turnpike see in Roark: He’s raw, real, and talented, and the proof is in the pudding.
Produced by Turnpike Troubadour Hank Early and with co-writes from RC Edwards, Roark had some pretty legendary musicians help him out on this one, but it’s his artistry and sound that really drive this record. Check out Lance Roark’s spectacular debut album Better Man below.
1. “Honey Babe”
2. “Oklahoma Blacktop”
3. “Hard Road to Hold”
4. “Cabin on a Hill”
5. “Shut Us Down”
6. “Better Man”
8. “Rain Shine or Overtime”
Lance Roark is a name everyone needs to know, and something tells me everyone will know it before too long. With such amazing artists in his corner, and plenty of opportunities in the coming months to grow his fan base, Roark is currently laying the foundation for what could become one of the next best things out of the state of Oklahoma.
Buy stock early in Lance Roark, you’ll be glad you did.