From portable bars to finding new fans, country's biggest stars reveal the best parts of hitting the road together
With his Spread the Love tour coming to a town near you, Kenny Chesney, and openers Miranda Lambert and Sam Hunt tell EW what to expect from the biggest country tour of the summer—and why you should leave your selfie stick at home.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Spread the Love is hitting 39 cities around the country. What can fans expect?
KENNY CHESNEY: Getting out on the road with Sam and Miranda [for] hours of awesome live music, rolling down the highway… We’re in a genre that allows you to have a real career and fan base, where fans have a certain ownership with an artist. That’s really fun to share with the friends you take out on the road. To watch Miranda go up there and kick ass and have this unique spot in country where people look up to her, and to watch Sam come out here—it’s such a great spot for him to be in, because everything’s new—it’s awesome.
Kenny, Miranda first opened for you in 2009, and you’ve played together many times since. Are you guys real-life pals?
KC: I don’t talk to her every day; we don’t call each other at Christmas. But when we see each other, it’s like we never left.
MIRANDA LAMBERT: It’s a low-maintenance friendship. But I’ve learned a lot from him, and every tour I’ve been on, somebody’s learned from him. We take bits and pieces and apply it to our own gigs. [To Chesney] Do you want to answer your own questions, or should I keep going?
KC: [Laughs] No! But since 2009, she’s become this really important person in the music world. She’s probably the most successful person that’s ever opened for me—she doesn’t have to be out here, but she is.
Last summer you had stars like Jason Aldean and Brantley Gilbert on the road with you. Does having a female star change the dynamic?
KC: The stage is gonna be a lot prettier, I can tell you that! [Laughs]
ML: It’ll smell like Chanel.
KC: And everybody thinks Sam’s pretty anyway!
ML: Yeah, he’s pretty!
Sam, one of your first breaks came when Kenny recorded your song “Come Over.” How does it feel to tour with one of your earliest champions?
SAM HUNT: It’s awesome. He was one of the people who inspired me to pick up a guitar. And that inspired me to move to Nashville, which created an opportunity to write “Come Over” and led to a record deal of my own.
KC: What’s really interesting is that I get 20 percent! [Laughs]
SH: [Laughs] But that was when it took somebody like Kenny to take a song like that, which was a little bit outside the box, and validate that sound.
What do you do to let loose between shows?
KC: I leave the venue to work out.
ML: I’m in charge of hospitality. I have an Airstream that I bring on the road; it’s like a rolling bar. I drink mostly to pass the time. [Laughs]
Sam, last year you had three singles go platinum. How have you adjusted to stardom?
SH: It was intense. I didn’t know what you expect having not been an artist before. From the outside, you only see romantic snapshots of what seems like a great lifestyle—and it is, but it’s also grueling. As much as I love music, I had to do some adjusting. Now I’m hoping to enjoy the moment a little more.
What’s one thing about performing that never gets old?
KC: It makes me happiest when somebody who may not have been invested in our music—their boyfriend or girlfriend [dragged] them to the show—leaves going, “What the hell just happened?”
ML: Trying to get the guy who has a s—ty look on his face the whole time. I’m like, “I’m gonna turn you!”
KC: [Laughs] “You’re gonna like it, whether you like it or not!”
ML: But I also feel like I gotta follow Sam. Watching somebody who’s great at what they do puts a fire under my ass.
KC: [To Lambert] I got a question for you: What’s the over-under on how many “I love Sam Hunt!” signs we’re going to see a night?
ML: I’m terrified!
KC: I bet at least 10.
ML: …That we can see! [Laughs] We’ll have to get binoculars for the rest.
To continue reading more from Chesney, Lambert, and Hunt, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here – and subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.