Locals perform at ACMs

Published 12:06 am Saturday, April 25, 2015

Clint May (center) and Drew Hassell (right) perfomed at the Academy of Country Music Awards recently. | Courtesy photo

Clint May (center) and Drew Hassell (right) perfomed at the Academy of Country Music Awards recently. | Courtesy photo

Group takes home new artist of year award

Covington County natives Drew Hassell and Clint May have made it to the big leagues.

Playing with Cole Swindell, the former LBWCC Ensemble members performed “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey” at Sunday’s Academy of Country Music show.

“Performing on the ACMs was an incredible experience,” Hassell said. “Not only was it in the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in front of 70,000 people, setting a new Guinness World Record for the most attended live award show of all time, it was broadcast live on CBS with nearly 16 million viewers.”

Hassell said playing for that many people is something he tries to keep out of his mind.

“You have to try not to think about all of that, but when it crosses your mind, it can get a little nerve-wracking,” he said. “It was absolutely the biggest performance we have been a part of and was exhilarating.”

May is a 2006 graduate of Andalusia High School and Hassell is a 2006 graduate of Opp High School.

Hassell moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2008 to follow his dream.

May went to the country music capital at the request of fellow musician and Opp native Martin McDaniel.

Hassell plays bass guitar and May is a vocalist and guitar player.

Cole Swindell earned the Academy of Country Music’s New Artist of the Year award, beating Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett.

“This is an unbelievable awards show, and I can’t believe I’m getting to be a part of it,” Swindell said during the show. “Luke Bryan, thank you for being like a big brother to me, buddy.”

For the past year and a half, the group has been touring with Luke Bryan on his “That’s My Kind of Night Tour.”

“We have been hitting the road hard for the past year and a half, doing close to 200 shows last year on tour with Luke Bryan’s ‘That’s My Kind of Night’ tour, which even stopped at four NFL stadiums, and was unreal,” Hassell said. “They’re massive.”

This year the band has been touring with Jason Aldean on his “Burn It Down” tour, as well as headlining its own shows.

“We will be joining up with Kenny Chesney for 12 NFL stadiums this year on his ‘Big Revival’ tour,” Hassell said. “Things are growing and moving so fast. It’s sometimes hard to realize what’s really happening.”

Hassell said being away from home isn’t easy.

“It gets hard being gone from home so much, but the hard work and time put in to it all definitely pays off, and we have a great crew out here,” he said. “We are all just a big family, which really helps with being gone on the road so much.”

The band’s hits have included “Chillin’ It,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” and “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey.”

Hassell is the son of Sam Hassell and Leigh Hassell.

May is the son of Ben and Bonnie May.