Hardy recently co-penned the newest single from Blake Shelton, "God's Country," and the songwriter-turned-artist says that even after focusing his attention on his own solo career, he's still excited when his songs find their homes on other performers' records.

"I still love hearing other people sing my songs. That's what I moved to town to do, like a lot of people do, and I still love getting cuts," Hardy recently explained to The Boot. However, the song took on an even more special place in his repertoire when Shelton announced that he will be performing it at the 2019 ACM Awards.

"That's freaking awesome. I don't even know what to think about it. I just can't wait to see it," gushes Hardy, who will be at the show to see the performance live. "I mean, I'm gonna have chills. I'm gonna cry."

The country up-and-comer co-wrote "God's Country" with Jordan Schmidt and Devin Dawson, another solo artist who has found success as a performer in his own right in the country music industry. Both men come from diverse musical backgrounds -- Hardy grew up listening to hard rock and idolizing great songwriters such as John Prine, while Dawson played in a metal band before finding his sound in country music -- and Hardy says that "God's Country" reflects the paths that led both him and Dawson to the genre.

"I just think that our two brains put together, as well as Jordan's production brain, definitely shows our influences and our backgrounds in that song," he explains. "It definitely rocks, and it's definitely got a little metal. It's very heavy."

In fact, the two country stars have known each other for years, but didn't start writing together until very recently. "I've been friends with [Dawson] for, like, four years now, but we just never wrote," says Hardy. "It was just one of those things: He was a new artist, and, at the time, I was a songwriter, and he was just on the road a lot. We would hang out at night, go to the bar and have a beer or whatever, but we never wrote a song. ["God's Country"] was maybe the third time we had written [together]."

While mainstream country is no stranger to borrowing from other genres, Hardy is excited to watch their style play out on the hallowed stage of the ACM Awards. "Especially for Blake! It's not necessarily his wheelhouse," he adds. "But it's really cool to step out of your comfort zone and try something new."

The 2019 ACM Awards are set to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 7. The show will air live on CBS beginning at 8PM ET.

The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about winners, fashion and moments at the 2019 ACM Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest ACMs headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.

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