Others taking the stage – Kip Moore! Chase Rice! Chris Lane! Riley Green! Maggie Baugh! Ryan Montgomery! Nikki Lickstein!
Tickets available below and at the gate at Coral Sky Amphitheater! Gates open at noon!
“I’ve never been the type of person who’s good at getting my feelings out, so for me music is a way to do that,” Wallen explains. “I just hope people get to know me and see my true colors.”
He mixes boondock bangers, amped-up anthems and sensitive, shade-tree poetry like a one-man playlist. He’s a fireball onstage, thrilling stadium crowds with superstars like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan and headlining his own 2018 Up Down Tour. He’s a chart-topping songwriter with his name on tracks like Jason Aldean’s “You Make It Easy,” a Grand Ole Opry performer and an artist on the fast track with over 100 million Spotify streams, earning the respect of legends like Bill Anderson and country’s new generation at the same time.
Born and raised in the tiny, two-stoplight town of Sneedville, Tennessee, Wallen began singing in his father’s church at 3 years old and was writing songs by 18, melding a variety of influences right from the start. Sneedville is the home of bluegrass icon Jimmy Martin and Wallen went to the same high school as Kenny Chesney.
“Like a lot of people my age, I didn’t necessarily grow up listening to country music … I grew up living it,” he says. “The songs I wrote came from the heart, and I don’t really pay attention to what’s going on outside of what I’m doing. I just try to stick to what I know and what I love.”
With the album’s slow-burning title track, what Wallen knows and loves comes into view. Anchored by a tight, Top 40 club beat and a gotta-have-you theme, the song is all rhythm and quick hitting come-ons as Wallen looks to start a romance that lasts longer than just one night.
“It’s perfect for my first album,” Wallen says. “Like, ‘If I know me, then here’s what you get.’”
Wallen’s “Happy Hour” toasts a relationship that was doomed from the start, mixing on-the-rocks lyrics and melodies into a potent, pure-country anthem. “Chasin’ You” smolders with the residual heat of a top-shelf bourbon, and “Whiskey Glasses” fuses sludgy guitars to a concept that’s basically a low-down, broken-hearted play on the idea behind beer goggles.
But with its booming beat, swampy guitars and sideways lyrics all about the country-boy good life – plus a nod to Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s archetypal country-rocker, “Fishin’ in the Dark” – “Whatcha Know About That” lies at the album’s thematic heart. It’s a place where being true to yourself is more important than playing by someone else’s rules. And that’s something Wallen knows all about.
“The song pays homage to the past, but I’m damn near rapping in part of it,” he explains, honored that the Grammy-winning Dirt Band – envelope pushing game changers in their own right – gave the track their support. “That’s one thing I love about country music right now. You get to express yourself and do what you want, and I think that’s why country is bigger now than it ever has been.”