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  • Lillian Matulic
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Laine Hardy was destined for a life in music. It was always in the ether growing up in the musically sacred state of Louisiana. The official soundtrack for family road trips along the state’s Highway 63 was a steady stream of Elvis Presley, classic rock and blues. Live, regional swamp pop, a combination of country and New Orleans-style R&B, was inescapable at several local restaurants the family frequented.Childhood in his hometown of Livingston, La. was getting lost in the woods around his family’s property either racing extended family barefooted or riding ATVs. The bottoms of his feet would always have calluses from traversing the native limestone. Hunting, fishing or frogging along the bayous near Lake Maurepas was a way of life and shaped his deep appreciation of nature and solitude.As a member of a generation of musicians who grew up teaching themselves how to play music through YouTube, Hardy spent his spare time in his formative years researching his idol, Presley, and the way he captivated a crowd. Guitar lessons at Jody’s Music, the local music shop, helped him master his instrument. By the time he turned eight years old, his mother, Cindy Hardy, had bought him his first guitar from Wal-Mart. By the age of 14, he was playing in The Band Hardy, the family group that featured his older brother Kyle Hardy on lead vocals.Prior to winning the 17thseason ofAmerican Idolin 2019, Laine cut his teeth winning over an audience performing with The Band Hardy, who would perform for whoever would hire them. “We played birthday parties, bars, restaurants, fairs and festivals,” Hardy recalls. “We played from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and sometimes longer if they wanted us to keep playing. But when we first started, my brother sang most of the set, and I would play guitar in the background and do solos.”


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