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Lawler wraps Highway Angel tour in Nashville

By: Brad Bentley

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Highway Angel Spokesperson

Lindsey Lawler performs in Nashville

 

It’s a far cry from Nashville’s Music Row to a TravelCenters of America (TA) location in Fultonville, New York – a trip most budding artists would scoff at. But for country recording artist and Highway Angel program spokesperson Lindsay Lawler, Fultonville was just one of fifteen total stops included in this year’s Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour, hosted by TA/Petro. With a colorful fleet that includes a Lindsay Lawler-wrapped semi trailer (provided by Fikes Trucklines) and an orange Schneider tour van complete with a Wholesale Truck and Finance trailer, Lawler spent her summer on the road, making stops in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri and Tennessee.

“I’m sure some people would call this mission of mine crazy,” says Lawler.

But her motivation is simple.

“I do this for the drivers. The trucking industry makes our nation move. Without it, we couldn’t possibly satisfy our everyday needs. So often we forget who’s responsible for fulfilling those needs. There are so many hard-working men and women in the trucking industry that are never recognized for that work. I’m trying to do what little I can by providing free entertainment for drivers during their evening stops.”

Lawler’s support of the trucking industry began long before her first Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour last year. Her performance at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas in 2010 lead to a serendipitous meeting with former Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) president Chris Burruss. Lawler wrote a song for the organization’s Highway Angel program, which recognizes drivers for their extraordinary acts while on the job – everything from changing a tire for an elderly women to delivering a baby on the shoulder of a highway, to saving someone’s life. These are things Lawler says she believes “are the norm, not the exception to the rule.”

“When I told Chris I wanted to write a song for the Highway Angel program, there was a bit of eye-rolling,” says Lawler. “How in the world could a Highway Angel song not be horribly depressing or horribly cheesy? But upon finishing Highway Angel with my co-writer and producer Chris Roberts, everyone seemed to love and be moved by the lyrics. It has since become an anthem of sorts for the trucking industry, as well as provided me a voice out on the road.”

Highway Angel tour

Lawler with Brad Bentley, the new President of the Truckload Carriers Association.

Just like that, Lawler’s song became the theme song for the Highway Angel program – and Lawler became its spokesperson. Eager to find new and integrative ways to promote the program, Lawler brought the Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour concept to TCA in 2013.

“At one point the trucking and country music industries had a prominent and respectful relationship. Somewhere down the line that got lost… I thought pairing the two once again might work three-fold – reviving that relationship, rewarding drivers for their hard work, and promoting Highway Angel.”

2013’s maiden voyage saw 25 total stops during a 10-week period from mid-August to the end of October.

“Last year was a huge success in most respects. But by the end of last year’s tour we were completely and utterly worn out. We spent the holidays recouping and planning things a bit differently for the 2014 tour – we really wanted to see quality over quantity.”

Highway Angel tour

Fans wait for the start of the concert at the Travel Centers of America in downtown Nashville. Schneider National’s Ride of Pride truck can be seen in the background.

Changes to this year’s tour included fewer stops at pre-surveyed and approved TA/Petro locations, pairing with pre-existing events on-site or nearby (including driver appreciation events), and increased driver interaction.

“The tour has grown exponentially from last year,” says Lawler. “Convincing people to come watch a concert in a truck stop parking lot is certainly tough… But the numbers have doubled from last year, which tells me we must be doing something right.”

No doubt a tour of this magnitude couldn’t have seen completion without tour sponsors.

“Our sponsors this year were absolutely incredible. Fikes Trucklines once again provided us with our trailer stage, and Schneider jumped on-board to fulfill our need for a new tour vehicle. Wholesale Truck and Finance joined again this year as well, and have already expressed interest to continue supporting next year’s tour. We’ve had so much support and we’re so thankful.”

Other sponsors included Prime, Inc., as well as Roehl Transport and Tennant Trucklines, both of whom helped with the transport of the semi stage.

Despite the tour’s recent finale performance in Nashville on September 25th, Lawler’s team has already started preparing for next year’s tour.

“Our hope is that this tour can continue to grow in size and popularity. The future success of the tour can only continue to offer increased exposure for the Highway Angel program and the hard work of those in the trucking industry, both to those within the industry and to the general public.”

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