Russell Dickerson's ready to grow his fan base out on the road with Thomas Rhett. The singer scored an opening slot on Rhett's Home Team Tour, which kicks off Thursday night (Feb. 23) in Saginaw, Mich., and is excited to tour with someone who's supported him from the start.

"We’re good buddies. We’ve been friends for a good while," Dickerson tells The Boot of Rhett, "and before my [Yours] EP was even out, I just sent it to him, like, 'Hey, check it out' ... He messaged me back, and he was like, 'Oh my God. This is so right on. It’s massive. It’s so good.' He was raving about it, saying, 'Dude, I can’t believe it. I didn’t know that your songs were that good.'"

Rhett invited Dickerson to tour with him in the summer of 2016, as he was planning his Home Team Tour. The two were hanging out following Rhett's set at LP Field during the 2016 CMA Music Festival -- and, technically, Dickerson's wife knew the big news before he did.

"[Rhett] told my wife, 'Don’t tell Russell, but I’m going to ask him on tour next year, on my first headlining tour.' She was like, 'You can’t tell me that and not tell him. You have to tell him tonight,'" Dickerson recalls. "And so we go back to [Rhett and wife Lauren's] house, and literally, just so casually, [he asks], 'Hey, do you want to go on tour with me next year?'

"I was like, 'What? Heck, yes!' It was just so awesome," Dickerson continues. "This is my first major tour ... And it’s all because of him liking my music."

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Although the Home Team Tour is Dickerson's first major tour, he previously headlined a smaller trek of his own, shortly after the release of his Yours EP in October of 2016.

"I was scared," Dickerson admits. "We opened for so many people, and it’s not just 'Is anybody going to show up?' It’s 'Are they going to be entertained if they do show up?'

"Putting on an opening act is great training, because you have to take [the crowd] from -10 to something. You’ve got to get them energized, and they don’t know who you are, so you have to win them over instantly," he adds. "It’s a lot of pressure. But that trains you."

It was a show in Denver that helped Dickerson realize that his headlining tour was worthwhile.

"I had never been to Denver -- I had never been out west really at all -- and our first show, we sold almost 800 tickets," he shares. "I was like, 'What are you all doing here?' My first headlining show.

"It was ballsy," Dickerson adds. "Three people could have showed up."

In addition to Dickerson, Rhett's Home Team Tour will also feature Kelsea Ballerini and Ryan Hurd as opening acts. A list of all of Dickerson's upcoming shows is available on his website.

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