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Love and Theft Hit the Road for First Headlining Tour With Nights 'You'll Never Forget'

Love and Theft
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Love and Theft

After spending years on the road as an opening act, this fall marks an important milestone in the career of RCA's Love and Theft: Last week in Portland, Maine, the guitar-and-vocals duo started its first ever headlining tour. Member Stephen Barker Liles says it's definitely an exciting time.

"We've got Joel Crouse opening up, and DJ DU and DJ Rod Youree splitting up the tour, which will be cool having a DJ kick off the show to keep the energy high," he said. "We named it the 'Night That You'll Never Forget' tour after our most recent single. Hopefully, people will take something away from the show that will mean a lot to them and make some new memories."

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Liles tells Billboard that he and Eric Gunderson have definitely taken some notes from many of acts that they have opened for. "We've learned some good ways to do things on stage and some not-so good, so we're looking forward to representing ourselves on stage the best that we can. When you get to make all the decisions about the stage, where you're going to play, and people are coming to see your show, that's always a cool thing."

One artist that the duo has definitely picked up some pointers from has been Tim McGraw. "We actually toured with Tim McGraw not once but twice. He has such great people around him. I think what you want people that are going to represent you the right way. He is serious about his career, but he has a good time. The fans know if you're not having fun, or if you don't care. They can tell."

Love and Theft are having a blast these days, as their popularity rises. Notably, they are nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year at November's CMA Awards, marking their third straight year in the top five. "It's such an honor to be nominated for anything," says Liles. "When your peers are picking you, it's an amazing thing -- something that we're not taking for granted."

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The duo is also excited about being the host act for the "Night You'll Never Forget" contest, a promotion the band partnered with CMT for that provides transportation for a lucky fan to New York to see the duo at the Gramercy Theatre on October 30. Liles recalled his first trip to the Big Apple.

"My first trip to New York was when I got cast to be a young Johnny Cash in the musical Ring Of Fire, I flew from Costa Rica to go to New York and audition," he said. "They had me come back again, and I got the part. I was surprised once I got it because I didn't think I was going to have to be doing choreography -- Johnny Cash wouldn't be dancing on stage. I told them I probably wasn't the guy for the gig. I wasn't the guy, it just wasn't my thing."

"I've got to have a lot of cocktails in me to dance at all," he adds with a chuckle. 

The band is currently putting the wraps on a new release, which Liles says will feature a somewhat different sound. "We wrote everything on it, and we didn't put any electric guitars on it. We've got some mandolin, some strings, and it's all very percussion-ish and organic, which was something we wanted to do, Eric and I wanted to focus on our vocals on this project, and show some of our influences. We want to have something for our fans on tour, as we'll be playing a lot of the songs right away."


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