Lee Brice and Jerrod Niemann, who have seen each other's stars rise over the past year, are heading out on the road together. The friends will combine business with pleasure as they co-headline the Higher Education Tour, kicking off in Columbia, Mo., on March 10, hitting college markets around the country.

Lee and Jerrod met each other almost nine years ago, about a year after each moved to Nashville, and they became fast friends. "When we met, we were both at the same place, but didn't know anybody," Lee tells The Boot. "Our normal thing was, 'We don't know anybody, let's go meet some people.' We hung out in the bars, we'd play and start writing songs together, and we'd go play a couple of acoustics for three or four hours and make a hundred bucks, or fifty, just enough to help pay the bills. And through that, we had a lot of times, a lot of fun together. There's such a mutual respect. I think he's such a talent, and he's so smart and funny."

"We always talked about, 'One day we're gonna get a deal. One day we're gonna be on the radio. One day we're gonna be on tour together.' And those dreams came true last year," the South Carolina native continues. "We were both on the radio together, going up the charts and both on the road, and we'd run into each other on the road. So, we started talking, [saying], 'We love each other. We love hanging out. We always have fun. We love writing and performing together. So, let's do a tour.' And the Higher Education Tour was born, and I have a feeling it's going to be a blast."

The guys are co-headlining the trek, but it may just depend on what's going on with them that particular day as to whether Lee or Jerrod close the show. "We have a plan," Lee explains. "It's definitely going to be separate [sets], but it's going to be a joint thing. Right now we're talking about both of us coming out at the very beginning of the show with acoustic guitars, sitting on stools, lights come up, and we're just sitting there. Maybe we'll do a medley of our Garth [Brooks] tunes right there. Bam! Get the crowd laughing, talk to them about what's about to hit them and then get somebody in the audience, a birthday or a winner, bring them on stage and flip a coin. We'll call it in the air, and whoever gets whatever, 'Alright, you're first tonight.' Boom! The other band comes on, and we'll go in the back. 'I'll see you in a little while. I'm going to go drink some beer.' Go in the back and Jerrod plays, or I'll play. Then when it finishes up, we'll do a segue -- we'll have one or the other come out on that last song, and it'll be just that easy. And boom, next thing you'll know, the other band will be on the stage and they'll do their show. At the end, we'll bring both bands out on stage and jam out with covers and just fun times for like 30 minutes or an hour, or however long we'll feel like doing it. It's going to be awesome! [laughs] That's kind of our idea."

The main thing, besides performing for their fans, is that they will be able to spend time with each other, which they have not done in quite a while. "We're just going to have a big time and find time to write and hangout and be buddies," says Lee.

Additional dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

Higher Education Tour Dates:



March 10, Columbia, Mo., The Blue Note

March 11, Miami, Okla., Buffalo Run Casino

March 12, Durant, Okla., Choctaw Casino Resort

March 25, Abilene, Okla., Lucky Mule Saloon

March 26, Speegleville, Texas, Hog Creek Icehouse

March 31, Denver, Colo., Grizzly Rose

April 14, Knoxville, Tenn., Cotton Eyed Joes

April 15, Clarion, Pa., Clarion University**

April 21, Davie, Fla., The Roundup

April 22, Bradenton, Fla., Joyland IV

April 23, Sebastian, Fla, Captain Hiram's Sandbar

April 28, Live Oak, FL, Suwannee River Jam

**featuring Lee Brice and Randy Houser