Brandon Lay might be a relative newcomer in country music, but he scored the biggest opening slot position of the year, when Kenny Chensey invited Lay to join him on his Trip Around the Sun Tour this year. It's an opportunity Lay still can't believe is real.
"It's like Christmas morning every Saturday," Lay says. "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. 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," he continues. "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."
Lay isn't the only artist grateful to join Chesney on the road. Veteran star Thomas Rhett, who has successfully headlined his own tours in he past (and will continue his Life Changes Tour this fall), appreciates the opportunity to watch Chesney night after night.
"When you can build your career to where you don't do anything but play stadiums because you physically can't fit that many people in an arena, that's the goal," says Rhett. "And Kenny has just done such a great job at just not only cutting great songs but just being a good person, and being such a smart businessman, the way that he markets himself.
"I think what Kenny has done the best is he's created such an atmosphere for people that even if you've never even heard of Kenny Chesney you know what you're going to experience at a Kenny Chesney concert, so you go," he adds. "And I think it's amazing when you can learn how to create an atmosphere rather than just put on a show."
Lay just released his latest single, "Yada Yada Yada," which he wrote with Mikey Reaves and Heather Morgan.
"I had the melody in my head one day as I was driving home from a gig but I didn't have any lyrics yet, so I was just humming yada yada yada as dummy lyrics (into my phone)."Lay recalls. "A few days later I was in a writing room with the voice memo and Mikey and Heather thought that would make a pretty good title in itself so we went with it. It's a fun tune that I hope people will enjoy."
Find a list of all of Lay's shows with Chesney at BrandonLay.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/ Terry Wyatt