Sure, touring with Kenny Chesney was nice, but the biggest reason 2018 will be a year Brandon Lay will never forget took place during one eventful 24-hour time period in September. That's when the rising country singer made his Grand Ole Opry debut -- but wait, there's more.

"I had just had a baby less than 24 hours before," Lay recalls to The Boot. "I went straight from the hospital. I still had my hospital band on and got to do my Opry debut, and then went back to the hospital to pick [my wife] Nicole up."

While it may have been a hectic day, the experience helped permanently link Lay's life to country music. "That's just stuff I won't ever forget and my family won't ever forget," he explains. "Now, it's intertwined with country music even more because of that experience, and that's why I'm so fortunate. It's what it's all about."

In fact, the fortuitously timed birth was not the first experience Lay's son, named Ryder Knox Lay, had with country music. "We were on the bus [last] summer [for Chesney's 2018 Trip Around the Sun Tour], and Nicole, my wife, did not miss a show," he continues. "Every week, her baby bump would get a little bigger and a little bigger. We had a little tradition during soundcheck at every one of these stadiums, where we would take a picture together, so by the end of the tour she was really showing, and we're gonna put those all on a wall someday.

"His name's Ryder, and I think he's ridden all over the country a few times, so I think he earned his name," Lay adds. "It'll be something he'll keep forever."

Meanwhile, the singer says that he learned something new from Chesney about how to be a great entertainer at every stop on the tour. "You can't take a night off, or a song off, or a minute off," he explains, adding that he was inspired by the energy that his superstar tour boss brought to every single show.

"Even though he's been playing these stadiums for I-don't-know-how-many years, he still plays every night like it's either his first or his last," Lay says. "That's definitely one thing I learned halfway through the tour: to stop worrying about missing notes or missing a chord or missing a step, even, and just give to the fans, and make eye contact. They spend a heck of a lot of money being there, and our job was to bring that energy and pump 'em up ... so, you know, just give and give, and stop worrying about every little thing."

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