Luke Bryan's opening acts Lee Brice and Cole Swindell seem to be in line to shine

Contributing Music WriterJanuary 16, 2014 

Who else will be at the Luke Bryan party being crashed Friday at Rupp Arena? For starters, these opening-act artists:

Lee Brice

A songwriter who has written tunes for Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw before releasing his debut album four years ago, Brice is set for a banner year in 2014.

His sophomore album, Hard 2 Love, has led to nominations for a pair of Grammy Awards. He is also a semifinalist for a best new artist nomination at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April.

Brice's biggest performance turn of the new year, however, was an unannounced outdoor concert in the Nebraska town of Milligan. The Jan. 4 show — billed as "Get Hyped for Halftime," a tie-in to next month's Super Bowl — played to a bundled-up crowd of more than 2,000, which is about 10 times the population of Milligan.

Brice proved the right man for the gig. Before a country music career, he was a lineman for Clemson University.

Cole Swindell

A native of Bronwood, Ga., Swindell will open Friday's concert with his debut album still awaiting release. That hasn't kept the singer from making a name for himself at country radio. His debut record, Chillin' It, earned the first gold single certification in any genre for 2014.

Swindell has written songs for several country artists, including Thomas Rhett, Scotty McCreery and Florida Georgia Line, and several tunes for Bryan. His self-titled album is due on the Warner Bros. label on Feb. 18.

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