Ask any artist, and they'll tell you the same: touring is the bread and butter of their careers. Across the board, album and single sales are down, so hitting the open road is as important as ever to not only put food on the table but to meet their loyal fans face-to-face. There's nothing quite like a live concert to reenergize a fan's and artist's love for the music. As 2017 slowly unfolds, rehearsals are well underway for what could be the best touring season yet!
AXS.com had the chance to chat with a slew of country artists about what fans can expect this year and exactly how excited they are to share new music. Miranda Lambert, whose risk-taking double-album The Weight of These Wings remains on constant loop these days, launches her Highway Vagabond Tour--with Old Dominion and Aubrie Sellers in tow--later this month with a "rehearsal" show at Joe's Bar in Chicago on Jan. 24. The official tour kicks off two days later in Evansville, Ind. "I’m excited to get back on the road. The first time you see all of the fans after being off for a while is pretty great. I’m really glad that we finally have new music to add to the set this time around," she shares. Check out her tour dates right here.
Coming off the buzz of her first-ever headlining gig (the aptly titled The First Time Tour), country's next superstar Kelsea Ballerini is eyeing an opening slot on Thomas Rhett's first-ever headlining Home Team Tour--what a coincidence, huh?! The tour (kicking off Feb. 23) will also feature Russell Dickerson and Ryan Hurd on select dates only. "I'm so excited to be touring with Thomas this spring. Not only is he absolutely on top of the world right now, I'm personally a huge fan of his music, and more so, his heart. Him and his wife are such amazing people, and I'm really looking forward to being around them," Ballerini says. Tour dates can be found here.
Cole Swindell has achieved considerable success the past couple years and collected a string of No. 1 hits, including the title cut to his latest studio album, You Should Be Here. With a rather impressive touring pedigree to his credit already, the singer will hop aboard friend and fellow music-maker Dierks Bentley's upcoming What the Hell Tour, which kicks off Jan. 19. Newcomer Jon Pardi is also set to open. "Dierks has always been one of my favorite artists. Now knowing what a solid guy he is off stage makes me a bigger fan and I can't wait to learn from him and his band & crew," Swindell says. "I’m also excited that Jon Pardi is on the tour, we have been friends for a while now and I'm so proud of his success. It’s going to be an energy packed show and a good time had by all if you ask me." A rundown of dates can be seen here.
Jerrod Niemann, known for such hits as "Lover, Lover" and "Drink to That All Night," will be releasing a new studio album this year, the follow-up to 2014's High Noon, and he anticipates performing new cuts on several upcoming concert and festival dates. "The most exciting thing about 2017 is getting out on the road and playing new music for the fans. My new album, which will be out summer of ’17, is definitely gonna take the fans on a ride they can’t get anywhere else," he says. "My fans have come to expect the unexpected, so get ready." See his touring schedule here.
Rising newcomer Olivia Lane made waves last year with the release of her self-titled EP, brimming with sweeping pop-country hooks and a charming lead vocal. On her forthcoming stretch of tour dates, fans can most certainly expect to hear a few new songs, including a rather special one to her. "Every year I always try to take my live show up a notch and 2017 will follow suit. Me and my music have a bunch of energy and that's exactly what I'm aiming to bring more of this year," she teases. "I'll be debuting a few new songs but one tune in particular is called 'One Whiskey Away' which talks about being one shot or drink away from getting to that next level so I think it's a good fit to debut during my show that's ultimately going to hit that next level." Keep up-to-date on Lane's 2017 appearances on her official website.
Singer-songwriter Carly Pearce aims to hit that next level, too, with her excellent single "Every Little Thing" creating quite a stir; it's a hauntingly beautiful piano ballad which frames Pearce's powerful vocal in a new light. She just wrapped up several dates on Ballerini's First Time Tour and has ambitions set high for 2017. She is scheduled to play Nashville's iconic Bluebird Cafe on Jan. 20, among many other dates. Check 'em out here. "Fans should expect hopefully a lot more shows in 2017 from me! I am looking forward to people getting to know me as an artist and person beyond 'Every Little Thing,' I think it's going to be a very fun year," she beams.
Duo Haley and Michaels are hitting on all cylinders with their song "Drinking About You," as well, which has been featured on such playlists as Spotify’s New Music Friday, New Boots and Wild Country Playlists and is currently being spun on SiriusXM The Highway. "We’re really excited to get back out on the road again in 2017! We can hardly wait to share our new music with everyone," they share. Late last year, they also dropped a stunning new track called "The Price I Pay." If they have even more such songs up their sleeve, watch out, 2017!
Stay tuned to AXS.com for any and all updates.