Exclusive: Lainey Wilson Discusses Tractor Supply Co. Partnership, Singing with Dolly Parton, Returning to ‘Yellowstone’ & More

Lainey Wilson has been chasing her country music dream since she wrote her first song at nine years old. She’s been chasing that dream in Nashville since August of 2011. Now, after nearly 13 years in Music City, she’s getting the recognition she’s earned with her hard work. Wilson’s 2022 album Bell Bottom Country added rocket fuel to the already-growing fire that was her career and transformed it into a blaze visible from orbit.

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Since then, she has won a trophy case full of awards including a Grammy for Best Country Album and the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award. She’s also worked with some of her heroes. Today, Tractor Supply Co. reaffirmed its ongoing partnership with Lainey in a new Life Out Here ad spot.

Ahead of the announcement, Lainey Wilson sat down with American Songwriter to talk about her partnership with Tractor Supply Co., working with her heroes, traveling to Australia, and more.

Lainey Wilson on Her Partnership with Tractor Supply Co.

“When we first started working with Tractor Supply, it was a no-brainer to me,” Wilson says. “I’m a fifth-generation farmer’s daughter and I feel like a lot of my childhood was spent in a Tractor Supply. So, it just felt right” she added. The local Tractor Supply was the place her family went for nearly everything they needed for their Baskin, Louisiana farm.

“It’s been really fun,” she said about working with the company. “Last year, we got to shine a light on some undiscovered country musicians through their Emerging Artists Program. It was just fun to give back in that way.”

Wilson also explained Tractor Supply Co.’s brand philosophy Life Out Here. “It’s just a place where everybody’s welcome. It’s about good American values and how country music is the soundtrack of our lives. Those two kind of go hand-in-hand. So, Tractor Supply has also been a big part of my lifestyle.”

She summed it up, saying, “Life Out Here is all the things that I like to do that make me feel like me—putting my feet in the dirt, riding horses, just going on a ride around the farm, anything that makes me feel like I’m still in Baskin.”

For Wilson, this represents more than a brand partnership. It’s part of her mission to stay true to herself and honor her roots. “It’s really important to me to stay true to myself, stay true to my story, the way that I was raised. I’m very proud of where I come from and I’m proud of the people who raised me,” she explained.  “And, being able to work with a company like Tractor Supply, it does make me feel like I’m holding onto my roots. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”

Success Brings New Dreams

Lainey Wilson is likely one of the hardest-working artists in country music. So, she has no plans to rest on her laurels after the last couple of years. Instead, her success has lit a fire in her and revealed new goals.

“It’s getting really, really fun at this point. I’m starting to dip my toes into things that I didn’t know I was going to be able to do, like giving back. And I definitely want to be more involved with special needs and things like that,” Wilson said. “Our Heart Like a Truck Fund is one of my big passions now. We just got that up off the ground and running and, to me, that’s what it’s about is giving back. That’s becoming the dream, right there,” she added.  “For a very long time, my dream was wanting to make people feel something. And that’s still my dream. But, adding on to it, there’s just a lot more to it. Like I said, that’s when it gets fun, when you really feel like you’re able to make a difference.”

Accolades and Awards Were Never the Goal for Lainey Wilson

For Wilson, the awards and accolades were never the goal. She enjoys the recognition. However, she realizes that her work as an artist is about more than that. More important to her is the support and respect of the musicians she looks up to who have now become her peers. The list of stars who have shown their respect and support and offered advice reads like a Mount Rushmore of modern country music. Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd, and others are on that list.

“At the end of the day, the awards are a good feeling, I’m not gonna lie. Everybody likes to be recognized. You feel like you’re on the right track. But, I have to remind myself that I didn’t start doing this to win awards,” Wilson said. “I need to accept the gift and appreciate it and move on from it and do it again.”

Then, she added, “If I never win another award in my life, that’s okay because when I was nine years old and I was writing my first song, I wasn’t thinking about writing that song to win an ACM, CMA, or a Grammy. And I’ve got to make sure I keep that mentality because I feel like it could easily get lost if I let it. When you start doing things for the wrong reasons, I think it shines through in everything you do.”

Lainey Wilson Welcomes the World to the Country Music Party

Lainey characterized the last couple of years as “A whirlwind, in the best way.” Going to her first Grammy Awards show is a great encapsulation of the crazy time she’s been having. “When you’re in a room full of people from so many different walks of life and genres and when you feel like you’re respected by people who aren’t just in the country music industry, that’s a crazy feeling,” Wilson said. “We all just want to be respected,” she added.

“Grammy week, for me, it was a week of ‘Wow, we’re doing this!’ And country music is having such a moment. It’s becoming pop culture and it’s cool to see everybody want to support country music and be a part of it. Truth is, it’s been cool for as long as I can remember. So, welcome to the party.”

Recording “Refugee” with Wynonna Judd

Petty Country: A Country Music Celebration of Tom Petty will drop on May 31. Lainey Wilson teamed up with Wynonna Judd to record a country version of “Refugee” for the collection.

“That was one of the coolest experiences of my life. My gosh, every time I tried to use that growl in my voice, I was trying to channel my inner Wynonna. Everybody wants an inner Wynonna,” she said. “Just getting to have that experience with her in her studio, in her house, with her husband Cactus, it was wild.”

About Wynonna, Wilson said, “Everything she does, she gives 190%.” She added, “We went in to cut the vocals at the exact same time. We were just separated by a thin wall and we just got to kind of riff off of each other. It was pure magic.”

Singing with Dolly Parton: The Highlight of Lainey Wilson’s Year

Earlier this year, Lainey shared the stage with Dolly at Parton’s pet gala. They sang “I Will Always Love You” for the event. “Woo! That’s my one word for it. That’s all I’ve got to say,” Wilson said with a laugh when asked about the experience.

“She’s my biggest influence and to be able to stand next to her and look at her in the eyes and say, ‘I will always love you’ and for her to be looking at me in the eyes and say, ‘and I will always love you.’ That is a moment I’ll never forget. That is one of my highlights of the year, right there, hands down,” she said. “To have her support me is everything.”

“The things that she has taught me without actually getting to know her is crazy. But, actually getting to know her, even being in her presence I feel like I walk away learning something,” Wilson said of Dolly. “The way that she carries herself. The way that she walks into a room and has a light about her and you can tell that light goes deep. She shares that light with the world and shares her gift with the world. She’s not gonna stop until it’s over.”

Returning to Yellowstone

At this point, no one knows what’s going on with Yellowstone. The only thing that is certain is that the final half of season five is going to happen. Even with her packed tour schedule, Lainey Wilson plans to make time to return to the show.

“A couple of years ago, when we were filming, my schedule was crazier than it is now. We were probably playing a hundred and sixty-something shows. This year, we’re not playing as many shows. I think we’ll be able to figure it out,” she said.

Lainey Wilson on a Possible Luke Grimes Collaboration

Yellowstone star Luke Grimes recently released his self-titled debut album. So, it only seems fitting for him and Wilson to team up for a song. When asked if it was a possibility, she said, “I hope so. I’m a big fan and I think he’s just cool.” Then, she added, “It’s kind of a raw natural talent for him is what I feel like.”

Wilson pointed out that sometimes when actors try to become musicians it falls flat. However, that’s not the case when it comes to her Yellowstone cast mate. “He’s really, really good and really talented. I’m glad to see him stepping into that creative side,” she said.

Feeling at Home on the Other Side of the World

Not long before speaking to American Songwriter, Lainey Wilson traveled to Australia for the first stops on her Country’s Cool Again Tour. Like anyone traveling to the other side of the world for the first time, she didn’t know what to expect. However, the last thing she expected was to feel right at home in the Land Down Under.

“When you think about being on the other side of the world, it just seems so far away. In your mind, you think the people are probably going to be very different. The truth is, it was kind of eerie how similar I was to the people over there,” she revealed. “I feel like I kind of know them from a different life. They were just good people. They reminded me of people from back home. We were having a hard time explaining the kind of people over there and somebody said they’re like British Texans. I was like ‘That’s pretty spot-on.’”

She went on to say that Aussies love country music. More specifically, they’re fans of Bell Bottom Country. “The shows went awesome. It’s crazy the amount of people who showed up to the shows wearing their bell bottoms and hats. Who knew that somebody on the other side of the world could relate to my story? It’s pretty cool.”

The story she shares is nearly universally relatable. At the same time, the story she’s living—an artist from a small town with a big dream finding international acclaim—is one that anyone could find inspiration in. Years from now, music historians will look back on the artists who helped reinvigorate country music in the 2020s and Wilson’s name will be among them.

Featured Image by Jonesworks/ Lainey Wilson

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