Laner Feature: Hunter Brown and Lucy Werner

M / L

Hunter and Lucy- two extremely talented musicians, adventurous travelers and newfound Van owners are Mustard Lane’s Featured Laner(s) for this month. We managed to exchange a few words with these modern day minstrels and learned it’s ok during these times to say yes with an open heart to whatever comes your way and cross a few items off your bucket list at the same time. 

So Hunter...What brought about this mobile lifestyle? What has it been like and what's been the hardest thing to get used to?

The pandemic hit and my girlfriend, Lucy, and I all of a sudden became stuck in FL living back in our family homes. She found a 2000 Chevy Astrovan on Craigslist and we decided to slowly drive up to NY while isolating ourselves to the van. We figured isolating in a van in the middle of the forest by a stream or somewhere in a field sounded better than our parents basements. The hardest part of the mobile lifestyle was definitely that our AC didn’t work like 50 percent of the time. Luckily, we avoided the highways and took county roads only, so we could have the windows rolled down everyday and enjoy the fresh air. We’d also stop and pour jugs of water all over each other, which is incredibly refreshing after 10 hours of cornfields.

What led to the mobile lifestyle was our longing to keep going even while being in isolation. We took like 30 handmade masks with us and stayed away from people besides gas stations and grocery stores, and learned to cook over a campfire and learned where it was safe to sleep in the van overnight (be it a State Park or a Cracker Barrel parking lot). 

We’ve always been travelers so the van allowed us to continue being mobile, just in a vastly new way. It was a blast.

Whoa whoa - that was in the past tense...are the Van days over?

The van days are far from over! We take little trips here and there to get out of NYC and go camping. We also just started a moving and transportation business for artists called Plan-2-Van, so we are constantly in the van. The van got hired to be in an indie horror movie last month as the role of “serial killers van” so I drove it out to NJ and the van acted in the film for a few nights. Lucy and I also just drove all the way to Wisconsin to visit her family cottage. Finding free places to sleep in your van is called Boondocking. On top of all of this we have also started a band called the AstroBand, which is heavily inspired by our beloved AstoVan. So no, Van life is far from over. It has just begun! 

OK - let's get down to the origin story here - how did you and Lucy meet?

Lucy and I met back in college! We both went to Elon University in North Carolina. I always had a bit of a crush on Lucy and we stayed in touch after college and made music together. We reconnected last March and then both happened to quarantine in Florida really close to each other. It was all perfect timing. Covid has been such a disaster in so many ways but somehow for us it has been an incredible renaissance. It brought us back together and it helped set us on this path that we’re loving so much. 

Lucy, tell me a little bit about yourself!

I am a Floridian gal and like a Hunter said we went to college for musical theatre in North Carolina. Since then I was on a few national tours, which is when I fell in love with traveling. I loved traveling all over our beautiful country and our gorgeous neighbor Canada, but the end of my two year contract took us to Asia. This trip literally changed my life and since then travel has become one of the main focuses in my life.

I worked on different cruise ships as a singer for the next four years and I had actually just decided to take a short break right before the pandemic hit! Very serendipitous. I have been craving a home of my own after six years of traveling so I’m very excited that Hunter and I just finally signed a lease in Brooklyn, but also so so so in love with our van and the freedom that it gives us! 

Fun facts: I love to do cartwheels. I LOVE vegetables, but bread (any and all bread) is my favorite food. My favorite color is currently a burnt yellow. Or purple. I also love to sew and used to make jumpsuits but now I mostly make masks that my mom designed. I also love to sing obviously :)) I especially love to sing with Hunter!!! Fun fact I am most proud of: I recently roller skated through my hometown Winn a Dixie and no one got mad at me. It was lovely. Roller skating through a store is pretty bold but also adorable....If I saw something like that I'd probably roll my eyes and continue on to shop for my towelettes. Unless you were rollerblading, then I'd have to step in as a concerned citizen.

The two of you recently worked for Mustard Lane at a gig upstate, what was that like? Especially during all of this?

Rochester was so much fun. We really enjoyed the job and the people we worked with. The third day when we said goodbye to the clients, we all took our masks off as we were heading to our cars and laughed out loud because we had worked together for three full days and had only seen each other’s eyes. I guess your brain sort of creates the rest of the picture... so we were a bit surprised to see our true mugs. 

We also loved exploring the quiet streets of Rochester while we were there. We lived off of rice and beans that we had cooked and a bag of spinach. Lucy also found a free bike at a garage sale that she fixed up and now proudly rides it around! Also had some great coffee and got a lot of free Under Armour shirts from the event we worked at the Under Armour store!

Lucy and Hunter have a band that you can check out on Instagram @theastroband

They also are providing affordable moving and transportation services to artists affected by the pandemic @plan2vannyc