The wait is over for Clearwater Rodeo fans.
It’s time to get the Main Street party started.
Chamber officials announced Tuesday, Jan. 8, that country star Morgan Wallen will headline the Saturday, June 29 evening’s concert, held on the village’s Main Street, following the 52nd annual rodeo.
Special guest, Hardy, will join Wallen, taking the stage at 9 p.m., with Wallen set to sing at 10 p.m.
The James Lee Band, a local group with ties to Bartlett and Ericson, will open for both acts, beginning at 8 p.m.
Wallen co-wrote six of the 14 songs on his debut album, “If I Know Me.”
The first single, “The Way I Talk,” released in 2016, reached the 30th spot on country charts.
Just over a year ago, he hit number one with the smash hit, “Up Down,” featuring Florida Georgia Line.
The song has gone platinum.
The third single released from the album, “Whiskey Glasses,” currently sits 34th on country charts.
The 26-year-old performer grew up in Sneedville, Tenn., and began singing at age 3, at his father’s church.
By 18, Wallen was writing songs. He wrote Jason Aldean’s hit “You Make It Easy,” which landed at the top of the charts.
Growing up, Wallen favored rap; his mother preferred Christian music and his dad, hard rock.
“It’s not something you would expect - a Southern Baptist preacher who loves Bad Company - but I think that’s part of what makes him genuine,” Wallen said.
Those musical influences, along with training on the violin and piano, melded into the base that influences his current musical interests.
Although he planned to play college baseball after high school, an injury sidelined Wallen.
While recuperating, he picked up a guitar at WalMart and learned how to play.
Wallen has toured with Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan, and in 2018, he headlined his own “Up Down” tour.
On Jan. 4, he kicked off his “If I Know Me” tour, in Rosemont, Ill., releasing a video for his song, “Chasin’ You.”
The black and white video features Wallen traveling the streets of Nashville, hoping to win over a love interest with his smooth tones.
Hardy grew up in Philadelphia, Miss., population, 7,500, give or take.
His four song EP, “This Ole Boy,” shares stories about where he grew up: rural America.
“I love that lifestyle, and that’s what I want to talk about,” he said. “I’m not really a love song dude. I’m going down that road, it’s a song like ‘This Ole Boy’ where it’s a redneck-in-love kind of thing. People that are like me, or people who still live in small towns, still love that and want to hear that.”
The singer moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting opportunities and in 2018, the move paid off.
He collaborated with Brad Clawson and CJ Solar to pen Wallen’s platinum hit, “Up Down,” co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “Simple” and Seth Ennis’ “Call Your Mama.”
Focused on songwriting, Hardy didn’t pursue a recording career. That changed when FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and producer Joey Moi recognized the talent and put him on stage three times during their 2018 tour.
Concert organizers are excited about this year’s lineup.
“Anytime you can get 2,000 people on Clearwater Main Street, it’s sure to be a great time for all ages,” said co-chair Melissa Herley.
This is the third year a concert will be held in conjunction with the rodeo.
Eric Pasley performed for the rodeo’s 50th anniversary in 2017. Last year, Dylan Scott lit up the stage.
“Without all our great sponsors, this event wouldn’t be possible,” Herley said. “Join us in Clearwater for a great party.”
Tickets will go on sale next week.
Several northeast Nebraska venues will offer ticket sales, including Clearwater Feed & Grain, Hi-Way Mart, Clearwater Market and The Tilden Bank-Clearwater branch, in Clearwater; DW’s Pub in Ewing; Neligh News and Leader, Wanek Pharmacy and Thriftway Market in Neligh; 106 Kix, Renegade and US92 in Norfolk and KBRX in O’Neill.
For more information, visit the chamber’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/clearwaternechamber or contact concert committee members Herley 402-750-8936; Janette Kerkman, 402-640-8828; Marty Kerkman, 402-750-5831; Curt Thiele, 402-640-5734 or Tom Thiele, 402-640-5726.