Copious Notes

Maggie Lander on building bands and geeking out at concerts

Maggie Lander and J. Tom Hnatow perform at Manchester Music Hall.
Maggie Lander and J. Tom Hnatow perform at Manchester Music Hall. Shaker Steps Photography

A buzz started going through Lexington as soon as Maggie Lander brought her fiddle to the party. She has since distinguished herself as a singer and instrumentalist with local combos including the Patrick McNeese Band. Now, she is fronting her own outfit, The Landers, putting her and her songwriting and frontwoman skills in the spotlight.

With a big Landers show coming up April 14 at Soulful Space, we asked Maggie a few questions.

Q: Local music fans have seen you as a band member and a frontwoman. How different are those roles? Which do you prefer?

A: I can’t say I prefer one over the other. They are both very different. Being a collaborator comes naturally to me, but stepping into the frontwoman role took a little talking to myself and internal struggle. I eventually became comfortable leading a band and making decisions, and now it feels very instinctive.

Q: Tell us about putting The Landers together. What’s it like to form a band?

A: I’m very lucky to be surrounded by such experienced musicians and friends. Scott Stoess, who plays bass, was one of the first people to hear my songs in depth and encouraged me to do something with them. From there, we connected with Dan Trisko and Dwight Dunlap, and the synergy became apparent.

Q: Tell us about the group’s debut recordings.

A: We have recorded four singles at Shangri-La studio here in Lexington with Duane Lundy and J. Tom Hnatow. We’ll be releasing them over the summer, with a larger project to follow. The first single, Easier To Lie, is out now.

Q: You’re playing Soulful Space next week. How important are alternative venue shows becoming to local artists?

A: Alternative venues are invaluable to local musicians, and we’re blessed to have some wonderful ones here. Soulful Space is a fantastic series that offers musicians a gorgeous sanctuary and a receptive audience that really listens. That, as a performer, is the recipe for magic.

Q: I remember seeing you coming out of the Joshua Bell concert last year absolutely gobsmacked. What is the best show you have seen by another artist?

A: Seeing Joshua was a bucket-list event for me. He was a childhood hero of mine, and I’ll admit that I geeked out the whole time. I saw Sturgill Simpson at the Ryman and was totally blown away. There is something about that everyone acknowledges. It was a truly memorable show.

The Landers perform at 7 p.m. April 14 for Soulful Space at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, 533 East Main Street. Tickets are $12 online and $15 at the door. Visit