Red-hot Hardy, Lainey Wilson Are Heading for Covelli

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Hardy was already hot when his Covelli Centre concert was announced in March.

But the hard-rocking country artist’s tour – which also includes rising superstar Lainey Wilson – has only gotten more buzzworthy.

Hardy is at the vanguard of a wave of country music artists who aren’t afraid to embrace their rock side. His concert this Saturday, Sept. 16, at Covelli sold out faster than any show at the downtown arena in the post-pandemic era.

Adding extra punch is Wilson, who last week garnered nine Country Music Award nominations. She has also become a television star for her role on “Yellowstone.”

Wilson has now topped the CMA Awards nominations for two straight years while becoming intertwined with Hardy.

This year, she is up for album, song, music video, entertainer and female vocalist of the year, as well as two separate nominations in both the single of the year category (for “Heart Like a Truck” and her duet with Hardy, “Wait in the Truck”) and the musical event of the year category (once again for “Wait in the Truck” and her feature on Jelly Roll’s “Save Me.”)

Lainey Wilson performs at the Lollapalooza Music Festival in Chicago on Aug. 3. (Photo by Amy Harris | Invision | AP)

Following Wilson in the nominations race are Jelly Roll, who boasts five nominations, and Luke Combs and Hardy, with four each.

Having Wilson aboard on Hardy’s tour means fans will hear “Wait in the Truck” just like it sounds on the radio.

Hardy has also been raising hell on the awards front. The Mississippi native is a three-time CMA Triple Play (three No. 1 songs in a 12-month period) award recipient, the reigning ACM Songwriter of the Year and the 2022 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year.

His Youngstown appearance comes on the heels of Koe Wetzel’s Sept. 3 concert at the Canfield Fair.

Both artists are on the cutting edge of Nashville’s raging rock fetish.

Hardy has twang in his voice and he’s not afraid to deploy a steel guitar. Lyrically, he fits in the trucks-and-girls sector and doesn’t stray from the plain-spoken country vocal style. But he’s got a split personality and is quick to barrel into rock territory. Hardy could probably re-record his entire catalog into alt-rock hits.

Demand was brisk for the Covelli Centre concert when tickets went on sale six months ago. It might be even stronger now. Resale tickets are all that’s left, and they range from almost $500 to well over $100 for the cheap seats.

“[Hardy’s and Wilson’s] mainstream exposure got much bigger from the time the show was booked [in March] to the show date,” said Ken Bigley, vice president of show promoter JAC Live.

But fans of Hardy and Wilson were on board from the jump.

“It was one of the fastest sellouts at the arena since the pandemic,” Bigley said. “It was incredible because the majority of people didn’t know who he was, but there was a rabid fan base that was eager to buy.”

The rest of the country has since caught on, and the rock-country subgenre is now “ruling the airwaves and concert sales,” Bigley said.

Hardy and his rocking contemporaries – including Wetzel and Jelly Roll – have a lot in common.

“The one constant with this entire movement of emerging artists is the desire to not be put in a box,” Bigley said. “They mix country, rock, rap with an outlaw attitude, and fans are definitely reacting to it.”

To find tickets for Saturday’s Hardy concert, which also features Dylan Marlowe, go to

Pictured at top: Hardy performs during a recent concert. (Photo by Ryan Smith)

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.