• NEWS AND NOTES: Brandon, Kip, Darius, Luke

    Brandon Lay, who is making his way up the country charts with “Yada Yada Yada,” will make his Grand Ole Opry debut on September 29th!

    Kip Moore, Darius Rucker and Jewel have been added to the list of performers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) annual Nashville Songwriter Awards. The event, which will also feature previously announced performers Brothers Osborne, Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, Brantley Gilbert, Blake Shelton, Scott McCreery and others, will take place September 19th at the Ryman Auditorium.

    Luke Bryan appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America for the second time this week. On Tuesday, he helped announce the CMA nominees from his bar, Luke’s 32 Bridge Food + Drink, along with Dan + Shay and Sugarland. On Wednesday (August 29th), he took GMA anchor Paula Faris for a tour around the bar, where they talked about his upbringing, peanuts, family and his multi-week No. 1 smash “Most People Are Good.” Check out the interview here.

  • LABOR DAY 2018: AJ, BILLY, BRANDON, CARRIE, CLARE, DARIUS, DIERKS, ERIC, JON, JORDAN, KEITH, KIP, LADY A, LUKE, MADDIE & TAE, TRAVIS

    For many decades, Labor Day was seen as a day for workers to voice their complaints and discuss better working conditions and pay.

    U.S. Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, and on Monday, September 3rd, we will once again celebrate the people in every occupation whose work and dedication make this nation great. Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.

    Labor Day weekend also signals the unofficial end to summer, and many of the hottest country stars are taking a look back at some of the toughest jobs they had prior to making their mark in music or talking about their dream job now.

    For Labor Day Liners, click here.

    Audio / Alan Jackson says that working man values have always been a part of his music.

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    AJ (working people songs) OC: … appreciate that. :28
    “I’ve always written songs and recorded songs, other people’s songs, about workin’ people, and workin’, the workin’ life ’cause I mean, that’s where I’m from. I mean, I worked…I’d already had jobs and worked as a grown person before I ever even thought about bein’ in the music business, so I come from that background, and…although I hadn’t had a job in a long time (laughs), I still remember a lot about it, you know, and I remember what the lifestyle is, and I still appreciate that.”

    Audio / Billy Currington recalls some of the jobs he had before landing his record deal in 2003.

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    Billy Currington (Labor Day) OC: …record deal. :40
    “I started working like at [age] 12, landscaping. This was summer, every summers, and roofing. I started when I was about 16 roofing houses, and that was probably one of my toughest jobs because down there in south Georgia, it gets hot, so doing that every day all summer long. The pawn shop when I moved to Nashville was one of my favorites, even though it was one of my least favorites. The concrete job was my least favorite of all – six years of that, and I couldn’t take it no more. After that job, that was my turning point. Either I’m going to do something else for a living [laughs] or quit and try to really focus on music and get this record deal.”

     

    Audio / Brandon Lay says he’s always enjoyed the Labor Day Weekend.

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    Brandon Lay (Labor Day) OC: …a good one. :13
    “You know, I can’t complain too much about Labor Day, ‘cause usually doing landscaping and it had slowed down a little, but the water’s still warm enough to hit the river. I’ve gotten to spend some time out on the lake for Labor Day, so Labor Day’s a good one.”

    Audio / Carrie Underwood talks about the jobs she had growing up and her best job -- performing for her fans.

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    Carrie Underwood (Labor Day) OC: …born to do. :59
    “I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad job. I’ve had hard jobs. I’ve had jobs that worked random hours. My first job was at a gas station, and that was a lot of fun actually. While I was working at the gas station, I took another job at a hotel down the street. There was nobody else working there. I had one day of training and then the next day I came in, and the lady that had worked there the longest and was training me just didn’t show. So, the second day at work I was now in charge ‘cause I was now the senior member that was working at the hotel. So, I feel like that one was really challenging to figure my way through it, but I did. My best job is definitely what I do now. I really like being on stage. I really like performing for people and just having fun and singing, because that’s what I feel like I was born to do.”

     

    Audio / Clare Dunn gets emotional when talking about driving a silage truck in Texas to make enough money to move to Tennessee to follow her dream.

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    Clare Dunn (Labor Day) OC: …had to do. 1:05
    “I was coming for school. I remember I was two weeks late for school [at Belmont], because I had stayed in Texas longer to drive a silage truck for harvest. Harvest was still going on and I needed the money, so I stayed down there. I called all my professors. I explained what I was doing. I said, ‘I’m not going to be there for the first two weeks.’ They all were very, I told them why, and they were all very accepting of that. So, I got home. I was worn out from driving this truck in Texas, and I remember getting home in like the morning or the night before and I left the next day. I literally just chucked as much stuff in a U-haul as I could, and my family was helping me get it all ready while I was on the truck. I remember, everybody cried. I’m probably gonna cry just talking about it, because it was so many unknowns, and I just drove myself out to Tennessee. It was very emotional for me, obviously, just seeing that Tennessee state line sign and being scared to death, but knowing that’s what I had to do.”

     

    Audio / Darius Rucker recalls one of his worst jobs before turning to music.

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    Darius Rucker (Labor Day) OC: …pizza. :15
    “I was fifteen, and I worked at a pizza place, and the guy decided that at fifteen, that I could not only clean the floors and wash the dishes, but I also had to make pizza. So, for two months, he taught me how to make pizza.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley makes a living performing for his fans, and he can’t say enough about them.

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    Dierks Bentley (Labor Day) OC: …generosity. :26
    “Personally, the fans give me amazement. That’s the only word to really sum it up. I look out in the crowd, you know, usually see a lot of faces and fans are cheering. I know each one of these like from the road-the signs are from California…Michelle and Kayla live up in the Ohio area. They’re all, I just see them, and I’m like, ‘Wow!,’ they’re all from different regions. You know when you’re in a different region of the country and you just see certain fans. These people are way more hard core than I am, and I’m just amazed by their generosity.”

    Audio / Eric Church talks about one of his worst job.

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    Eric Church (Labor Day-odd jobs) OC: …bought at 2am. 1:27
    “I had an awful job. I’ve had a lot of awful jobs…my worst one was when I first came to Nashville. I got a job at the Shop at Home Network. I worked midnight, graveyard, midnight to eight. That was bad enough but then I would work all night, go home, shower and then I had writing appointments all day because I was trying to get a career started. I’d go write songs and get meetings just trying to get signed. And end up getting done at 3 of 4 with all of that, I’d go home, take a shower or sleep for a little bit and then I had to be at work again at midnight. So the schedule was bad enough, however, what I had to do at the job…I sold knives from midnight to 7 or 8am. And, anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4am and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation. And I just, I was young and I’d been in a lot of these people’s shoes, I had done this…I knew they were drunk. I knew what they had done. They’d just come home from the bar, flipped on Shop at Home and said, ‘You know what? I need that.’ So the reason the job didn’t last long for me is that I was maybe the worst salesmen in history because I ended up talking a lot of these people out of it, I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’ Because I knew what was going to happen, you know. They bought 200 knives for $19.95…first of all some of these people you didn’t know whether you should call the cops. What do you need 200 knives for? Even though I’m selling them…what do you need them for? So, it was awful doing that job. And then they got rid of me because, they were like, ‘You’re the worst. I can’t believe you’re talking people out of it.’ I was like, ‘Man I know…I’ve been there.’ [laughs] I’d want some to talk me out of buying some of the stuff I’ve bought at 2am.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi talks about his worst job, which was at a grocery store.

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    Jon Pardi (Labor Day) OC: …so bored! :17
    “The worst job I ever had was at Hometown Grocery Store. I didn’t want to work. I was 15, and I did not want to work at the grocery store. Bagging was fun, but they sent me down the aisles to pull up cans and turn ‘em around and face ‘em, and I would just get so bored!”

    Audio / Jordan Davis, whose debut single is making its way up the country charts, talks about his worst job.

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    Jordan Davis (Labor Day) OC: …worst job. :41
    “[My] worst job was probably whenever I got out of school I started working for an environmental group in Baton Rouge, and I was doing actual environmental work at first. I went to my boss probably about four months in and told him that I was going to move to Nashville and write songs. Luckily enough, he let me stay on, but I became the weedeater guy for the landscaping side of the business. I seriously weedeated eight hours a day. The only break I would get would be in-between yard to yard. So, like we would be in the car and I would try to doze off for like 10 minutes. I was covered in grass in the middle of the summer in Baton Rouge. It was awful. That was definitely the worst job.”

    Audio / Keith Urban talks about performing for fans.

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    Keith Urban (Labor Day) OC: …amazing. :22
    “Seeing people connect to the music is absolutely, hands-down the biggest reward for me, especially when you go to a place you’ve never been to before and it’s all these people, I mean lots of people out there. You’ve never met a single one of ‘em and they’re singing every word, and you realize that it’s not just a pretty melody and everything, but they get the songs. It’s amazing.”

    Audio / Kip Moore recalls his worst job...ever.

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    Kip Moore (Labor Day-worst job) OC: …than that. :21
    “I’d have to say my worst job ever was laying sod in the south Georgia heat. There’s nothing than that, especially when somebody would think that you’re waiting for the next sod patch to be thrown to you and you got your back turned, and all of a sudden, that big ole piece of sod hits you right on the back. You got nowhere to clean up, and you’re just stuck with dirt on your back for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get any worse than that.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum tells us what he used to do to make a buck before finding success as a musician.

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    Lady A (Labor Day) OC: …I had a lot of crummy jobs. :31
    CK “I used to…” HS: “… knock out asbestos walls.” CK: “I did that for a long time. But even before that, I used to do lawn care every summer. Oh, man, I do not miss that. Just glad those days are over. I get out here and play music for a living. It’s a lot more fun. But yeah, I used to do that, and I used to work as a bag boy at a golf course once. I did that for a couple of summers. I had a lot of crummy jobs.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan talks about the different jobs he worked in and around Leesburg, Georgia, before heading to Nashville to pursue a career in music.

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    Luke Bryan (Labor Day-jobs) OC: …Nashville… 1:07
    “At age 12 thru 13, I worked at Rubos IGA Supermarket in Leesburg, GA. I worked during the summers on Monday and Tuesday. I stocked and cleaned up the produce.  They paid me under the table…I peeled off all of the brown lettuce. Let’s see, when I was 15, I was a cashier at K-Mart for two months. I worked at K-Mart for two months, and then I reverted back to Rubos because it didn’t really make sense for me to drive all the way into Albany and work for K-Mart. The benefits were great though-you’d get an hour-long on the blue light special. So I started back at Rubos, and then I quit Rubos and worked for my Dad-just awful just driving tractors through cotton all day, and spraying pesticides that eventually would turn your hair green. And then at some point, I started playing guitar. And well, after college I went back and worked for my dad and continued to spray and haul fertilizer around. And then I moved to Nashville…”

    Audio / Travis Denning has never had another job other than playing music.

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    Travis Denning (Labor Day) OC: …right for it. :13
    “I’ve always played music. I mean, my first gig was when I was 16-years-old. That was what I did. And as soon as I found out I could make money doing it, I thought I’d much rather make money doing this than anything else, so I went right for it.”

  • LABOR DAY 2018 LINERS: Billy, Brandon, Brothers, Carrie, Clare, Darius, Eric, Jon, Jordan, Kacey, Keith, Kip, LBT, Luke, Maddie & Tae, Sam, Travis

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    LINER Billy Currington (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all! It’s Billy Currington, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Brandon Lay (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Brothers Osborne (Labor Day)
    This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Carrie Underwood (Labor Day Weekend)
    Hey everyone! I’m Carrie Underwood, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Clare Dunn (Labor Day)
    Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, and I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Darius Rucker (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Darius Rucker, and I hope you have a have a happy work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Eric Church (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Eric Church, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Eric Paslay (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Eric Paslay, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Jon Pardi (Labor Day weekend)
    Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Jordan Davis (Labor Day)
    Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Kacey Musgraves (Labor Day weekend)
    Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Keith Urban (Labor Day weekend)
    Hi everybody! This is Keith Urban, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Kip Moore (Labor Day)
    Hey—what’s happening guys? This is Kip Moore, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day Weekend.

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    LINER LBT (Labor Day)
    Hi! We’re Little Big Town, hoping you have a work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Luke Bryan (Labor Day)
    Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Maddie & Tae (Labor Day)
    Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Sam Hunt (Labor Day)
    Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Have a great and work-free Labor Day weekend.

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    LINER Travis Denning (Labor Day)
    Hey y’all. It’s Travis Denning, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.

  • BRANDON LAY IS HAVING A BLAST WITH KENNY CHESNEY ON HIS “TRIP AROUND THE SUN TOUR.”

    Brandon Lay has been electrifying crowds on Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun stadium tour. Last Saturday (August 4th), they played Detroit and this weekend (August 11th), they’re coming home to Nashville to perform at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans). Brandon says he’s having a great time on the road with Kenny.

    “That whole camp and whole atmosphere around that camp is just a party on wheels. And there are so many crew people that have worked with him for 20 plus years and it really is impressive just the setup and tear down aspect of it, and it takes literally a village to make it all go round,” says the Tennessee native. “But somewhere between all of that everyone is laid-back and having fun, and then it’s two hours before we even go on and people are out in the parking lot having a great time. It is easy to have fun in that kind of environment.”

    Brandon is making his way up the country charts with his song, “Yada, Yada, Yada.”

    Audio / Brandon Lay says the Kenny Chesney Trip Around the Sun stadium tour is a “party on wheels.”

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    Brandon Lay (playing stadiums on Kenny tour) OC: …environment. :33
    “It really is easier than a lot of other smaller venues and rooms because that whole camp and whole atmosphere around that camp is just a party on wheels. And there are so many crew people that have worked with him for 20 plus years and it really is impressive just the setup and tear down aspect of it, and it takes literally a village to make it all go round. But somewhere between all of that everyone is laid-back and having fun, and then it’s two hours before we even go on and people are out in the parking lot having a great time. It is easy to have fun in that kind of environment.”

  • BRANDON LAY’S “YADA YADA YADA” IS BLOWIN’ UP HIS PHONE.

    Sometimes when a song is written, it starts with a melody and the songwriters have to use “filler material.” Keith Urban has often used jibberish “lyrics” for part of a song until the actual words formed. Brandon Lay has also used temporary words to flesh out a song or two, including his latest release, “Yada, Yada, Yada.”

    “I actually just used that as a filler lyric in my voice memos in my phone because the melody came first. Sometimes the lyrics come first and sometimes the melody comes first,” says Brandon. “But I had a co-write the following week Mikey Reaves and Heather Morgan who are two of my favorite people to write with in town, and I kinda threw that out there and played them the very rudimentary work tape, and we kinda just came up with an angle for that title so we ended up calling it ‘Yada Yada Yada.’ And you know it’s not really a song lyrically that’s supposed to shake the earth, but I think it does show a different side than the debut single and that’s why we went with it.”

    Brandon is playing a few fairs and festivals before heading to Chicago’s Soldier Field as part of Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun Stadium Tour this Saturday (July 28th).

    Audio / Brandon Lay talks about how he started writing his new song, "Yada, Yada, Yada."

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    Brandon Lay (Yada, Yada, Yada) OC: …went with it. :36
    “I actually just used that as a filler lyric in my voice memos in my phone because the melody came first. Sometimes the lyrics come first and sometimes the melody comes first. I had a co-write the following week Mikey Reaves and Heather Morgan who are two of my favorite people to write with in town and I just kinda threw that out there and played them the very rudimentary work tape, and we kinda just came up with an angle for that title so we ended up calling it ‘Yada Yada Yada.’ And you know it’s not really a song lyrically that’s supposed to shake the earth, but I think it does show a different side than the debut single and that’s why we went with it.”

    Audio / LINER Brandon Lay (Yada Yada Yada) 1

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  • BRANDON LAY DISCOVERS WHAT’S IMPORTANT ON TOUR WITH KENNY CHESNEY.

    Brandon Lay is a student of his craft, studying every move Kenny Chesney makes on his Trip Around the Sun stadium tour.

    “It’s amazing to watch, because you know I think one of the main lessons I’ve learned already is as a new artist, it’s a little daunting sometimes to step out ‘cause there’s no way to prepare for a stage and I’ve played honky tonks and every frat party I could, but when you step out into a stadium it’s a totally different sport,” says Brandon. “One thing that I’ve noticed what he does better than anybody is he makes it an inclusive event and gives more. And I feel like for me, I’m coming out there maybe thinking too much sometimes ‘cause I’m a new guy, nobody knows too much about me so I don’t want to mess up. But what I’m founding out is more important than nailing every note or every lick is that it’s that connection. That’s something that I strive for.”

    Brandon rejoins Kenny on the road on Saturday (July 2st) at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Tennessee native is currently climbing the country chart with his latest song “Yada, Yada, Yada.”

    Audio / Brandon Lay says he’s learning a lot while on tour on Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun Tour.

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    Brandon Lay (Kenny Chesney tour) 2 OC: …strive for. :42
    “It’s amazing to watch, because you know I think one of the main lessons I’ve learned already is as a new artist, it’s a little daunting sometimes to step out ‘cause there’s no way to prepare for a stage and I’ve played honky tonks and every frat party I could, but when you step out into a stadium it’s a totally different sport. One thing that I’ve noticed what he does better than anybody is he makes it an inclusive event and gives more. And I feel like for me, I’m coming out there maybe thinking too much sometimes ‘cause I’m a new guy, nobody knows too much about me so I don’t want to mess up. But what I’m founding out is more important than nailing every note or every lick is that it’s that connection. That’s something that I strive for.”

  • BRANDON LAY IS REALIZING A DREAM COME TRUE — TO TRAVEL ON A TOUR BUS PERFORMING FOR FANS.

    Brandon Lay is kind of missing one of his favorite summer activities – being on the Tennessee River with all of his buddies. However, he is fulfilling a long-held dream of his — to travel the country on a tour bus performing for thousands of fans.

    “I feel like we’re on a vacation weekly,” says Brandon. “I told somebody the other day that when I started learning guitar, I saw a tour bus because I was always had an infatuation with tour buses, and this summer we’re fortunate enough to be on one. So, it’s a dream come true, but you know when I’m not doing that the good folks at Harley-Davidson hooked me up with a bike and they sent it down from Milwaukee. So, I’ve been on that non-stop when I’m home.”

    Brandon recently released his new single, “Yada, Yada, Yada,” which he’s performing every night on both his own shows, as well as on Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun stadium tour. Go to brandonlay.com for information on tour dates and more.

    Audio / Brandon Lay talks about some of his favorite summer activities.

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    Brandon Lay (summer stuff) OC: …I’m home. :34
    “I love the water, and yeah I’m kinda missin’ it. That was, growing up, it was every weekend at the Tennessee River and all my buddies, I see them on Instagram and Facebook and stuff, they still go every weekend. But I can’t complain too much because I feel like we’re on a vacation weekly. I told somebody the other day that when I started learning guitar, I saw a tour bus because I was always had an infatuation with tour buses, and this summer we’re fortunate enough to be on one. So, it’s a dream come true, but you know when I’m not doing that the good folks at Harley-Davidson hooked me up with a bike and they sent it down from Milwaukee. So, I’ve been on that non-stop when I’m home.”

  • BRANDON LAY EXPERIENCES A FEW FIRSTS, INCLUDING IMPENDING FATHERHOOD AND A STADIUM TOUR WITH KENNY CHESNEY.

    Brandon Lay is making huge strides by opening for one of country music’s superstars, Kenny Chesney. It’s his first time graduating to the big stage of a stadium tour, but the firsts don’t stop there. Brandon’s wife (Nicole) is due in October, and a stadium tour with fatherhood on the horizon is making life both a blessing and a Summer he’ll never forget.

    “God’s timing is perfect because she’s due in October and the tour actually winds down in September. And I’m sure, although we have several club dates here and there, it’ll be a great time to just kinda kick back and enjoy that whole process because just like the big stadium tours, being a dad is a first too,” says Brandon. “So, I’m kinda just winging it as I go. It’s a good season though. I’ve been in Nashville just a decade and I’ve been working for this moment so I’ve been trying to prepare myself as much as I can for these kinds of opportunities and so it does feel like I’m getting an opportunity that a lot of guys don’t get so I’m just trying to soak up every minute.”

    “We started a thing the first week we kicked the tour off, the fortunate thing is she’s been able to come and travel, but we take a picture at soundcheck every week and I mean the baby bump is getting bigger and bigger,” he adds.” Life is happening fast right now and I just couldn’t be more blessed. It’s a summer to remember no doubt.”

    Brandon, who recently released his new song, “Yada Yada Yada,” will hit the stage with Kenny again on the superstar’s Trip Around the Sun Tour Saturday (July 7th) at Centurylink Field in Seattle, Washington.

    Audio / Brandon Lay is soaking up every minute of impending fatherhood and opening for Kenny Chesney on his stadium tour.

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    Brandon Lay (expectations of becoming a father) OC: …up every minute. :44
    “Everybody talks about how it changes your life for the better. To be honest, it wasn’t a real planned thing for it to be this soon, but God’s timing is perfect because she’s due in October and the tour actually winds down in September. And I’m sure, although we have several club dates here and there, it’ll be a great time to just kinda kick back and enjoy that whole process because just like the big stadium tours, being a dad is a first too. So, I’m kinda just winging it as I go! It’s a good season though. I’ve been in Nashville just a decade and I’ve been working for this moment, so I’ve been trying to prepare myself as much as I can for these kinds of opportunities and so it does feel like I’m getting an opportunity that a lot of guys don’t get so I’m just trying to soak up every minute.

    Audio / Brandon Lay is enjoying having his pregnant wife on the road with him so he can soak up every moment with her.

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    Brandon Lay (wife expecting) OC: …no doubt. :26
    “You know, Nicole, my wife, she’s, I guess it’s half-time as far as the pregnancy goes and she’s due in October, and we started a thing the first week the tour kicked off. Another fortunate thing about having a bus is she’s been able to come and travel, but we take a picture at soundcheck every week and I mean the baby bump is getting bigger and bigger. Life is happening fast right now, and I just couldn’t be more blessed. It’s a summer to remember, no doubt.”

  • FOURTH OF JULY 2018 SOUNDBITES

    Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.

    Several artists will perform during Independence Day celebrations. Keith Urban will take part in the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, along  with Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Ricky Martin, which will be broadcast July 4th at 8pm ET on NBC.

    Carrie Underwood will headline the Fourth of July Hot Country Live event, launching Spotify’s new live concert series based on the streaming services Hot Country Playlist. It will take place at the Seaport’s Rooftop at Pier 17 concert venue.

    Lady Antebellum will headline the free July 4th concert in downtown Nashville. The “Let Freedom Sing” concert event will also feature performances by Chris Janson and Lucie Silvas. Following the show, there will be a 30-minute fireworks show, which is touted as one of the biggest in the country and will be synchronized to a live performance from the Nashville Symphony.

    Lauren Alaina will perform during A Capitol Fourth, an annual Independence Day special on PBS. Luke Combs will also perform. A Capitol Fourth, hosted by John Stamos, will air live from the West Lawn of the White House on July 4th at 8pm ET on PBS.

    Audio / Alan Jackson recalls one of the coolest Fourth of July memories he’s ever enjoyed.

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    AJ (fave 4th of July memory) OC: …very cool. :58
    Well, this one is hard to beat. A couple of years ago, maybe longer than that now, I had an old boat in Florida. It’s like an old antique motor yacht, and it was kind of a cool old boat. I had taken that boat, I’ve always wanted to take it up north like to New York and up in that area, up in the northeast where it’s so pretty. So, we took the boat up there and Denise and the girls, we all went up. They like going to New York City, which I don’t really care about going to the city. So, I got to stay in my boat there at the harbor tied up, which was cool anyway. So they spent time in the city a few days and then that was Fourth of July, and we went out in the Hudson River that night and they shot the fireworks off and we were anchored out in front of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks were going off sitting on that boat. That was the coolest thing and my girls still talk about that. I mean, that was the coolest thing on Fourth of July I can ever remember. I can’t top that one probably. It was emotional sitting there watching the Statue of Liberty and thinking about all that. It was very cool.”

     

    Audio / Billy Currington talks about his favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Billy Currington (4th of July) OC: …of my life. :16
    “My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”

    Audio / Brandon Lay talks about his memories of the Fourth of July growing up in Jackson, Tennessee.

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    Brandon Lay (Fourth of July) OC: …good times. :47
    “I remember everybody hanging out at my grandmother’s and we would drive down the road to a fireworks stand off the side of Highway 45 out there in Jackson [Tennessee]. Just getting the bottle rockets and Black Cats and bringing ‘em back to the house, it felt like it was an eternity before it got dark. We just kept wanting to light ‘em and our parents would tell us it ain’t time, but just how exhilarating it was to see ‘em shoot up. We’re not talking big time fireworks here, but you would’ve thought that it was. It’s funny just how you remember things, but I just remember a screen door at my grandmother’s, running in and out, in and out, in and out and four wild little cousins running around. It was good times.”

     

    Audio / Clare Dunn and her family are usually in the midst of harvesting their crops during the Fourth of July holiday, but she says it's one of her favorite memories growing up since that was when they were all together as a family.

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    Clare Dunn (Fourth of July) OC: …with your family. 1:12
    “Fourth of July is probably one of the biggest memories for me, because it’s always during harvest time. And harvest time, being a farmer, is your most important time of the year. It’s always nine-o. It’s always busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, but we always go into town, depending on what field we’re at. A lot of my memories are South Grenada, Colorado, we farm just south of that town, and we go into town and get Mexican food, a great Mexican food place called Shorty’s, and we get tostados and enchiladas and we take them back out to the field. And everybody stops for a second and we eat on the hoods or the tailgates of pickups, and we’re just all out there in the field taking a brief moment to eat dinner and then get back to cutting. And if you’re lucky you’ll see some fireworks from town. Those are some of my favorite memories growing up because you’re all out there working. You’re together, and it’s just the moment of pride, of getting the harvest in and getting to be with your family.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker enjoys setting off fireworks.

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    Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
    “Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley says the people of this country are what define America.

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    Dierks (people are America) OC: …all about. :17
    “The definition of America to me, you know, getting a chance to travel across the country on a tour bus, stepping upon stages whether it be county fairs, state fairs, arenas, rock bars, the Opry stage, anywhere across the country and looking out at that crowd and seeing people. The people, to me, are what America’s all about.”

    Audio / Eric Church recalls his family activities on the Fourth of July holiday.

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    Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
    “The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”

    Audio / Jordan Davis talks about some of his favorite childhood Fourth of July memories.

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    Jordan Davis (Fourth of July) 2 OC: …really cool. :17
    “Probably baseball games, firework shows at baseball games. We’d go to Shreveport Captains games, so yeah, we’d do that or barbecues and fireworks. I can remember being on the lake for a couple of Fourth of Julys. We’d take the boat out and we’d watch the downtown fireworks show from the boat, which was really cool.”

    Audio / Josh Turner, who will perform in Demorest, Georgia on Independence Day, talks about the fireworks “wars” his family would have when he was growing up.

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    Josh Turner (fireworks) OC: …of money. [laughs] :20
    “Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]

    Audio / Keith Urban recalls coming over to America for the first time.

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    Keith Urban (coming to America 1st time) OC: …as I could. :39
    “1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I was shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott talks about her favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Lady A (4th of July-Hillary) OC: …on my hand. :29
    “For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”

    Audio / Every year, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood celebrates his birthday along with America’s big day.

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    Lady A (Fourth of July-Dave) OC: …and America. :45
    “July fourth is always, for me, my birthday week. My birthday is July 5th so we grew up going on family trips to the beach. We would always go to Hilton Head, South Carolina and always take trips for my birthday, so that’s always a fun time of the year…watch fireworks. I think my best memory would be my birthday party when I was 9 or 10 years old. We went to the batting cages and I remember I was swinging so hard, it was 100 degrees outside, I was swinging in the batting cage and ended up passing out right there in the batting cage. You’re trying so hard to hit the ball, you’re a kid and you really don’t realize how much water you should be drinking and [CHARLES: “Dave was that kid.”] I was that kid who was on the ground in the batting cage, people fanning and pouring water all over my face. Happy Birthday to me and America.”

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild talks about the big sacrifices the military AND their families make to keep this country free.

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    LBT (military) OC: (Karen) …whenever we can. (Kimberly: “Yeah.”) :22
    “It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)

    Audio / Luke Bryan recalls one of his favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
    “Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”

    Audio / Maddie & Tae talk about their Fourth of July traditions.

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    Maddie & Tae (Fourth of July) OC: …it’s perfect. :29
    TAE: “One of my favorite Fourth of July traditions – I’d say it’s a tradition ‘cause it happens every year, but I’m not always able to make it – is that we go to my grandparents in Oklahoma, and we all line up lawn chairs right in front of their garage and we just light fireworks. We always do it far away and then we light it, and we always run back and watch the fireworks, but that’s probably one of my favorite memories.” MADDIE: “My birthday is July 7th, so I always get built-in fireworks for my birthday, and sometimes we actually celebrate it on the 4th, because there’s fireworks everywhere, so it’s perfect.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt talks about what he and his family did over the Fourth of July holiday when he was growing up in Georgia.

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    Sam Hunt (Fourth of July) OC: …good time. :39
    “My granddad on the other side of my family, he would always take a lot of pride…fireworks were actually, I’m from Georgia, and most of them were illegal, I’m pretty sure, growing up. But over in Alabama, that’s where all the firework stands were, and we only had to drive 10, 15 minutes to get to the Alabama line, so we could go get a bundle of fireworks pretty easy. But he would always take a lot of pride in going and finding all the good stuff, and coming back with a  big pile. He’d have his torch out there at the end of the driveway and we’d all eat homemade ice cream and put down towels on the driveway and he’d shoot off fireworks for 30-45 minutes. Such a good time.”

    Audio / Travis Denning talks about the Fourth of July events his hometown of Warner Robins, Georgia would throw every year.

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    Travis Denning (Fourth of July) OC: …will love. :51
    “Fourth of July in Warner Robins, Georgia is an event. It’s something else. In fact, forever they’ve thrown an Independence Day concert, and back in the day, it was huge. It was the biggest thing they did all year. They would actually have the concert in the MAC (McConnell-Talbert Stadium), which was the high school football stadium that Warner Robins and Northside and Houston County shared. I mean, one year they had Wynonna play and then they had Josh Turner one year, Darius Rucker. I mean it was like a big deal, and there’d be 15,000, 20,000 people there, and I think it’s so cool that there’s a little bit of a legacy of people coming together in that town and making something happen, you know? I’ll never forget going to those shows and thinking, I was more proud of what the city had done. I was like, ‘That’s just so cool that they could put together a show like this, an event that everybody will love.”

     

  • BRANDON LAY SAYS OPENING FOR KENNY CHESNEY IS LIKE ‘CHRISTMAS MORNING.’

    Brandon Lay has been opening shows for Kenny Chesney on his Trip Around the Sun stadium tour, and he says it’s pretty exciting to be on the road with someone he grew up idolizing.

    “It’s like Christmas morning every Saturday. It’s crazy,” says Brandon. “Obviously growing up a Kenny fan, just to be on the tour was a very surreal moment hearing that he dug what I did and thought I’d be a good way to kick off his tour. So, definitely not a role that me and my band take lightly, and it’s just been, we’re not even halfway through the tour yet, but it’s already been such an education. I’m just trying to soak it up and enjoy it.”

    Brandon, who just released his new single “Yada Yada Yada,” will make a stop at the Country Stampede in Manhattan, Kansas on Thursday (June 21st) before joining back up with Kenny at Chase Field in Phoenix on Saturday (June 23rd).

    Audio / Brandon Lay talks about how much he’s enjoying being on the Kenny Chesney tour.

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    Brandon Lay (Kenny Chesney tour) 1 OC: …fortunate. :36
    “It’s like Christmas morning every Saturday. It’s crazy. Obviously growing up a Kenny fan, just to be on the tour was a very surreal moment hearing that he dug what I did and thought I’d be a good way to kick off his tour. So, definitely not a role that me and my band take lightly, and it’s just been, we’re not even halfway through the tour yet, but it’s already been such an education. I’m just trying to soak it up and enjoy it and obviously, it’s been a platform for fans of new country music and people that enjoy the discovery process, it’s been the absolute platform for that, so we’re very fortunate.”

    Audio / Brandon Lay (can't wait to see you at the show tonight)

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