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Laine Hardy Named Taste of Country RISER

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Laine Hardy knows a thing or two about tiny towns.

Laine Hardy Named Taste of Country RISER

Laine Hardy knows a thing or two about tiny towns. The Season 17 American Idol winner from rural Livingston, La. (pop. 2,000) eased into the country's consciousness two years ago with a quiet confidence, charming backstory and undeniable ability to hold an audience's attention. It's all on display during this RISERS performance of his new single, "Tiny Town."

The 20-year-old's patience makes this acoustic performance memorable, but it also serves him well as he approaches each step of a young music career with the kind of focus and drive he brought to network television two years ago. Hardy splits his time between home and Nashville, where he camps out in Music Row songwriting rooms, often with A-list writers.

"I was thinking I'd be left behind and I'd just be sitting there not doing anything," he told ToC in April of those first meetings. "And I got all into it and started coming up with melodies and they loved it."

Michael Knox (Jason Aldean) helped craft those first recordings, including the equally biographical "Ground I Grew Up On" and a Christmas cover, "Please Come Home for Christmas." He's learned an important rule of song choice, however: the best song wins, even when it's not your own. Michael Tyler wrote "Tiny Town," but it feels meant for Hardy, who says he was drawn to it immediately.

"Just the whole idea of the song. Every single lyric in the song is spot on to my tiny town," he says.

Laine Hardy is the second RISER of 2020, following the Cadillac Three and a long, break from the series, thanks to the pandemic. Caylee Hammack, Riley Green, Jimmie Allen and Cody Johnson made up the class of 2019, joining Morgan Wallen Lindsay Ell and Brett Young from previous years. The quarterly franchise includes personal performances of an original and cover song, plus exclusive insight into what makes each artist special.

Taste of Country is the No. 1 country music site on the web with 40 million monthly page views, 2.1 million Facebook fans, 367K Twitter followers, 380K Instagram followers, and 415K YouTube subscribers. Our coverage - in addition to Taste of Country Nights, a nightly radio show hosted by Evan Rose - is syndicated to more than 100 country music radio stations nationwide.

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