This is the one about three out-of-state Mormon missionaries who realized they shared a common love for music and Roseburg while serving two-year missions in Oregon.
The experience impacted Zach Knell, Sam Sheppard and Keith Lambson so much, that after they returned home at the end of their missions, they formed a band and called it Roseburg.
After four months of creating music together this year, the three band members recently returned to Roseburg for the first time where it all began.
News of a daytime performance at Nichols Band Shell arena spread quickly through social media, they said, exceeding their expectations.
“It was awesome,” Knell said. “We shared it on our Facebook that we were going to be, and all of a sudden we had like 250 shares and all these people tagging their friends saying they want to come. It was cool, tons of people showed up and we got to talk to them.”
The three met while serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Oregon. While the three each spent time individually in Roseburg, they said they were never in the same room together.
“We had all heard of each other as musicians and that started a little bit of a competition between us,” Lambson said in a video posted on their Facebook. “We sorta didn’t like each other in the beginning.”
That feeling changed as they began working together, band members said. Sheppard describes his time in Roseburg as a difficult one on a personal level, but he came to love what the city and people taught him. It was only natural for them to name their band after the community that brought them together.
Each member has a different musical background. Knell grew up in Provo, Utah, a town he describes as rich with music. He started writing music when he was 10.
“That’s when I started having this delusional confidence that I was going to be a rock star,” Knell said.
Knell has no classical training as a musician; he taught himself how to play guitar and piano.
Lambson, who grew up in Idaho, found his love of music singing old cowboy songs around a campfire with his grandfather. He began piano lessons at a young age.
He participated in several school bands throughout middle and high school, adding drums to his repertoire. He learned to play bass and guitar when he formed a band with school buddies. Lambson continued pursuing music during his time at Brigham Young University-Idaho as a jazz major.
“Keith is our drummer,” Knell said. “Sam and I do not consider ourselves musicians, we are song writers, but Keith is a really musician. He is better than us on every instrument,” said Knell. “Keith is really the backbone of our band. He has all the chops on every instrument.”
For Sheppard growing up in New York, music was a big part of his family.
“I remember going to either of my grandparents’ house and that is what we would do as a family. We would sit down and just play music together,” Sheppard said.
Sheppard entered college at 16 without knowing what it was he wanted to pursue.
“I (was) 16 and music sound(ed) really fun,” Sheppard joked.
He began a music recording major, where he ran into someone he knew from high school. Together, they started writing a musical together. When Sheppard decided to go on a mission for his church, the two of them began writing and performing songs that they could put together quickly. This was the first time Sheppard was part of a band.
Each of the band members met in different Oregon cities during their two years here. None of them were ever in the same room at the same time until after leaving Oregon, but they all felt strongly that these were the people they wanted to create music with.
“For four months, we have been doing this band and have been doing awesome things,” Knell said. “Like way more than what we thought was possible in four months.”
Included in their achievements are four songs and a music video with over 9,200 views on YouTube. Their first single, “Stay Golden,” was streamed over 20,000 times in the first week of release and now has over 100,000 streams on Spotify from all over the world. They are now beginning to work on their first full-length album.
They named their band Roseburg because this is where they all met.
“There is an interesting feeling that we get here and we felt it when we drove in,” Knell said. “It is this magical feeling when we are here. We just love this place. We love the people here, we love the experiences we had here. We are super heavily influenced by it.”
Knell explained that whatever that feeling is, they want that expressed in their music. Lambson credits Roseburg with helping them become the people they are today.
“We don’t want to write just good songs, we want to write the right songs,” Lambson said, a quote that Sheppard regularly uses.