Words and Photos: DJ
Country Rock artist Hardy recently arrived in Huntsville during his extensive tour, which saw sold-out shows in numerous cities during its initial leg. He was joined by supporting acts Lainey Wilson and Dylan Marlowe.
Hardy has been experiencing a wave of success lately, showcasing his formidable songwriting skills. With 12 co-written No. 1 country hits, including Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” and Dierks Bentley + BRELAND’s “Beers On Me,” Hardy’s musical prowess is evident. He also achieved a No. 1 hit with his own song, “One Beer,” recorded alongside Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson. The album with the same name as the tour topped seven additional Billboard charts, including Album Sales, Top Country Albums, and Top Rock Albums.
The Country Rock lineup not only featured Hardy but also included Lainey Wilson, fresh from her triumphs at The 57th Annual Country Music Association Awards. Wilson, with nine nominations and five wins, including Entertainer of the Year, became the first woman to claim the award since Taylor Swift in 2009.
The VBC show was a complete sell-out, and the reasons were evident. Opening the night was Dylan Marlowe, a Statesboro, GA native, who gained popularity by sharing his songs on social media. He set the stage for the two headline acts, leaving the audience excited for what was to come.
Lainey Wilson took the stage with her distinctive style, featuring bell bottoms and a statement hat. Her success is apparent through her incredible vocals and commanding stage presence. Crowd favorites like “Hillbilly Hippie” and “Watermelon Moonshine” had the audience singing along. Closing her set with “Heart Like a Truck,” Wilson reached impressive highs in the chorus. Kudos were also given to her talented band, and it was noteworthy that her guitar player sported a NASA space suit on stage.
As Hardy’s crew prepared for their set, the stage transformed with intensity, fire, and pyrotechnics. Hardy’s ability to seamlessly blend Country, Rock, and even Metal was evident in hits like “Kill Sh!t Till I Die,” “4×4,” and “A Rock.” Following the energetic start, Hardy shared a more personal side, opening up about his struggles with anxiety after a tour bus accident in October of the previous year. Despite the physical injuries sustained by Hardy and his team in the Nashville crash, his message about the importance of mental health came across as sincere and thoughtful.
The setlist’s more lighthearted moments included “The Redneck Song” and “Radio Song,” with Lainey joining Hardy on stage for the duet “Wait in the Truck,” followed by “God’s Country.”
Even without the pyrotechnics and elaborate production, Hardy’s performance remained highly entertaining, underscoring his ability to craft compelling songs. For those fortunate enough to attend, it was a night of cheers, beers, and enthusiastic crowd responses. The numerous sold-out dates attested to the widespread appeal of this unforgettable live experience.