Laine Hardy heads to Grand Ole Opry

From left are, T.J. Reid, Laine Hardy, Mary Ellen and Anita.

Livingston Parish singer/songwriter Laine Hardy, also known as the Bayou Boy, will be singing for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Aug. 29.

What an honor to be invited into that circle! Go tell it on Facebook, email your friends, call your Mama. This is a big deal, and Louisiana should be so very proud.

Earlier this year, the lieutenant governor’s office designated Laine as a True Ambassador of Louisiana and officially made him the face of the Louisiana Office of Tourism’s “Louisiana is a Trip” campaign. It’s designed to encourage locals to make the most of our state’s experiences through close-to-home road trips.

His commercials are currently running on television. (I love the wardrobe accessories – mud boots and baseball cap.)

Daily Star readers may recall in 2017 I wrote several segments about this young man as he rose to the top in “American Idol.” I was star struck, and each week the song he sang was my favorite, until the following week. By the time he won the title, I had watched for hours and hours and reran for more hours. I had fallen hook, line and sinker for this fresh-faced, raspy voice boy with the gorgeous brown hair. Like so many others, I joined the fan club and got ready to ride.

First concert, I bought tickets the first day they went on sale. Larry and I made the eight-hour drive to Dallas and stayed with friends. The guys sat in the back of the Will Rogers Theater, but Kim and I were right up close, as Laine sort of shyly took the stage, along with the Hardy band. Yes, I was there to “party with the Hardy,” and soon he was, too. With the first strum of his guitar he came alive.

I sat there mesmerized through each of his tunes, from “Hurricane” to “Flame” to “On the Bayou” and “Louisiana Lady.”

By the time he got to “That’s Alright, Mama,” I felt like I was seated third row in the New Orleans Saeger Theatre with my mother to see Elvis Presley. Not sure if I was screaming, but I know I was up and down and clapping with every new note. I did realize it was not 1959, and I was no longer 13, but I certainly didn’t feel anywhere near 73 either.

That summer and fall of 2017 was a great time, as I hit the road following Laine. I even shocked my friends and family by hitching a ride to Hattiesburg one night with strangers I met on the internet. (They have since turned out to be some of our best friends now.)

Unfortunately that’s also about the time, I began feeling bad, and after riding to Nashville for a big show there, I couldn’t get out of bed and laid there staring in disbelief at the concert tickets on the nightstand.

Two weeks later is when I had the three falls, broke so many bones and ended up down for months. Liane’s music helped me through the surgery and recovery. Then the pandemic began and I just stayed home.

Next column I’ll fill you in on how he, and I, made it through COVID, and how he ended up on ABC’s The Bachelorette last week, singing his newest hit release.

He’ll be turning 21 soon, I just made 76, but don’t tell me. I’m not acting like it.

T.J. Reid lives in Amite with her very patient husband, Larry where she plays Laine Hardy music over and over and over … too much!

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