BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The numbers are in, and the answer is still the same: People love watching Laine Hardy.
Hardy’s 16-stop virtual tour over the months of April and May generated more than 2 million views on social media, according to a spokesperson for Monarch Publicity.
The virtual tour launched the same day Hardy officially released his first two singles, “Ground I Grew Up On” and “Let There Be Country.” Both songs were produced by Michael Knox, who has worked with Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, and Eric Church.
The songs are available on all streaming platforms via Hollywood Records and Industrial Media’s 19 Recordings.
Additionally, Hardy also released the music video for “Ground I Grew Up On,” which has drawn another 1 million views.
Directed by Dustin Haney, the video was shot earlier this year and gives fans a day in the life of Hardy, who grew up on the swamps and in the backwoods of Livingston Parish. Hardy drives down gravel roads past cattle herds, passes cypress trees while boating down the river, walks in the woods where he first practiced singing years ago, and plays guitar on a dock.
In late May, Hardy also released a lyric video for “Let There Be Country,” which gives fans an animated way to enjoy his music. In the video, a cartoon version of Hardy and his dog ride along the river in a mud boat, passing cypress trees, camps, and a few alligators and frogs.
Meanwhile, Hardy’s gravelly voice sings about “mud tires,” “bonfires,” and “hometown girls.”
“Y’all gotta check it out… the animations look just like me,” Hardy wrote on his Facebook page.
Hardy’s tour, which was changed from in-person to an online format amid the coronavirus pandemic, kicked off on the Raising Cane’s Facebook page April 10. It included stops on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” an appearance on “Radio Disney Country,” and a showing on “CMT,” among other online platforms.
In the online shows, Hardy played his new music and fielded questions from a live audience.
During his April 29 visit with “Taste of Country,” Hardy surprised many fans when he was asked if he had any tattoos. The 19-year-old then turned around and pulled down the back of his T-shirt to reveal a shoulder-to-shoulder tattoo of his last name.
The virtual tour also included a return to Hardy’s old stomping grounds, “American Idol,” the show that made The Bayou Boy a household name following two runs on the nationally-televised singing competition.
Sitting on the porch of his Livingston Parish home wearing a flannel shirt and blue jeans, Hardy performed an up-tempo version of “Life is a Highway” on the show’s Disney episode. His performance garnered applause from the trio of Idol judges as well as host Ryan Seacrest and Idol mentor Bobby Bones.
Hardy returned to the show a week later for the finale, when he and a slew of other Idol alums performed “We are the World” with judge Lionel Richie to spread a message of unity amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.
With the virtual tour now complete, Hardy will turn his attention to the real thing — a 30-stop tour that is scheduled to run until October, not including one show set for August 2021. The tour will include stops in about two dozen states across the country, with one scheduled for Baton Rouge (Texas Club, Aug. 29).
A spokesperson for Monarch Publicity said tour organizers “are following the advice of our venue partners in each market who are working with their local administrations to adhere to local ordinances.”
If all goes to plan, it’ll be the second nationwide tour for Hardy since his crowning moment on American Idol, following a 20-show coast-to-coast tour in late 2019.
For more information on Hardy, visit LaineHardyMusic.com or send a text to (225) 307-8214.
David Gray | The News