Gary Allan’s Keyboard Player, John Lancaster, Dead at 43
Songwriter and Gary Allan keyboard player John Lancaster has died. The 43-year-old musician had reportedly recently gone into hospice care after a short illness and is remembered as a remarkable talent and good friend.
Allan shared the news with a tribute video. Lancaster died on Friday, May 1 — also his 43rd birthday — about a week after he was reportedly hospitalized.
"He was a brother to me and all of the band and crew and a friend to everyone he met," Allan says. "John had a way of making everyone laugh when he walked in the room, either from something he said or some look he would give you."
Songwriter Will Hoge also reflected on his personal time with Lancaster in a separate post to Facebook. Hoge shared how they toured by themselves for a long while in the early 2000s, and how the keyboard playing Lancaster provided made his songs much better.
"He was a great friend," he remarks. "He’d drop everything to help you and that rubbed off too. There aren’t enough pages of space on the internet for me to tell you all the gut busting hilarious memories I have with and about John."
Hoge also says that Lancaster fought addiction throughout his life, often getting clean only to fall off the wagon. "John had demons. The rock 'n' roll kind," he says, "The ones that are so easy to find and that you get for free. Anywhere. Anytime. Those ones that are harder to kick when you’re in a world that still believes you can’t have the circus without the monkeys." The pair drifted apart in later years, but met up again one year ago. It's Hoge's post that reveals how Lancaster was hospitalized in his final days.
In addition to playing in Hoge and Allan's bands, Lancaster also toured with Jamey Johnson and wrote several songs, including "You Without Me" for Allan's 2013 album Set You Free. Singer-songwriter Victoria Banks also remembers him fondly, noting that Lancaster helped write her debut single "Barefoot Girl" with his then-wife Rachel Proctor.
"If you had the chance to hear him play the intro to "Life Ain’t Always Beautiful,"" Gary Allan notes, "you know his remarkable playing came straight from his heart to all of those listening. His showmanship and often colorful and eccentric wardrobe made him a fan favorite on and off stage."
Lancaster leaves behind a daughter, Olivia. His cause of death is unknown.
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