(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
In the recent People Country Special, the eight men who are going out on tour with Taylor Swift this summer speak out about what it’s like to know she chose them and what they expect to learn from her. Danny Gokey can relate to her because, he says, “I’m not the typical voice on country radio, so I identify with an artist like her.” And accordion phenom and multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hayes is just glad he was invited on her tour. “I’m a Taylor fan, so the fact that she knows who I am is awesome,” he said. And David Nail has high hopes for the fans who get there early. “I want them to walk out saying, ‘That guy was really good,’” he said. (Swift has said Nail’s “Let It Rain” is one of the songs she has on repeat.) Frankie Ballard has one of the most honest assessments of his role on the road, saying, “I want them to like my music, but you’re fooling yourself if you don’t realize the fans are there to see Taylor and you’re just standing in the way of that,” he admitted. Swift says she hit MySpace and Facebook to find these guys. And she ultimately chose them because they have songs about relationships and love that pulled her in.