Hardy on Rising Hit Single ‘Rednecker': ‘It Works on Every Level’
Hardy's name is all over the place these days: The songwriter-turned-artist just co-penned two singles in a row for Blake Shelton ("God's Country," "Hell Right"), and has written his fair share of songs with Summer 2019 tourmates Florida Georgia Line. Though his opening sets on the trek are short, he's getting a big reaction from the crowd, particularly when he plays "Rednecker," a song from his 2018 EP This Ole Boy that's been consistently climbing the Billboard Country Airplay chart since its release earlier this year.
"I’ve noticed now that people know more than just that song because of it going Top 30. It’s getting a bigger reaction literally night after night; every night it’s bigger than the night before. It’s just fun to watch," Hardy shared at the recent No. 1 party for "God's Country" at Ole Red in Nashville. "It’s kind of crazy to see that proof. It really is true that it’s reaching a bigger audience, it’s getting played more."
Though several of his co-writes have skyrocketed to No. 1 on the charts, "Rednecker" is Hardy's first charting solo song as an artist. It's a magical time for the singer, whose career seems to be lifting off from the "paying your dues" phase.
"You never get your first single again. It’s cool because you witness the power of radio," "God's Country" co-writer and felling up-and-comer Devin Dawson chimed in. "It just gives you energy."
Hardy says his favorite part of the experience has been "watching everything grow because of the single and its position." His live shows are proof of the effect that airplay can have: higher merch sales, more streams, spots on bigger tours and more exposure.
The songwriter knows that the key to the success of "Rednecker" specifically is its malleability to each listener. The song plays on country tropes, and -- like, for example, Merle Haggard's classic "Okie From Muskogee" -- some suspect it's satirical, while others think it's a genuine brag. Hardy, for his part, describes it as "polarizing."
"It works on a lot of different levels. For me as an artist, however you perceive it, if you like it or if you don’t, that’s fine with me," he explains. "I’ve had people say it’s the funniest song they’ve ever heard. I’ve had people ask if it’s this sort of backhanded slam on people. I’ve had people quiz me on how small my town is.
"It really does -- it works on every level," Hardy adds. "I think that’s something that’s really cool about it. As long as it works, it works."
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