The season's competition is over, but the show goes on for the final four finishers in the Nashville Star talent search as they hit the road for some 30 concert dates through the end of August.
Photo Credit: John Scarpati
"This is the first time I've ever gotten to do a first class tour with the band and the whole nine yards," Brad Cotter told CMT News during rehearsals for the tour kickoff.
Cotter took the top prize during the show's second season, winning a record contract with Sony Nashville. His CD, Patient Man, was released Tuesday (July 6). The top finisher from the first season, Buddy Jewell, saw his self-titled debut album go gold for shipments of 500,000 copies.
Cotter and first runner-up George Canyon, who has secured a deal with Universal South Records, are sharing the stage with Matt Lindahl and Lance Miller. Their appearances on the small screen give the troupe the advantage of having a built-in audience.
"Since the show, it's really strange when you go somewhere, and people recognize you," Cotter said. "It's really kind of weird to get used to, but you really just have to think about what you wear before you leave the house."
Canyon, who had already met with some success in his native Canada, never realized the impact the show had until he visited the CMA Music Festival this year. "Everyone knew who I was, and I was kind of shocked," he said. "I had to ask some people, 'Do you know who I am?' And they would say, 'Yeah, you're George Canyon.' They'd say it like, 'What are you, dumb? Don't you know who you are?'"
Despite vying for the coveted record contract, the singers insist there was never any animosity between them. "I think we disappointed some of the TV people by not fighting any more than we did," Cotter said. "We were just there for the music and hoping that it would open a door for us to make more music somewhere down the road."
Miller spent years in Music City as a demo singer until he and Cotter decided to audition for Nashville Star. "He was the one who said, 'Hey, man, we better get in this thing,'" Miller said. "We've been passed on by everybody in this town, and this might be our last shot at it."
Lindahl is looking forward to more comfortable accommodations on the tour.
"I'm accustomed to traveling around in broken-down cars," the singer and washboard player said. "It's going to be a really cool deal."
Since the concluding episode of Nashville Star, the singers have been anxious to get back on stage, but during rehearsals they experienced a little déjà vu.
"When we were all standing there in the wings, waiting at rehearsal today, and we heard the Nashville Star band kick into that theme song, it was like, 'Ah ... man, this is so weird,'" Cotter recalls. "At least we didn't have butterflies in our stomach this time, though."