If you run into Lainey Wilson, don't spill any of the details about the custom gun that Hardy designed for her to commemorate their hit duet, "Wait in the Truck" — Hardy says he says he hasn't got the chance to give her the gift just yet.

"So many people know about this already! I haven't given it to her yet so I can't talk about it," he said with a laugh backstage at Nashville's Nissan Stadium on Friday (June 9), ahead of his headlining CMA Fest set. "I don't want her to know what it is. But somebody already told her that it's a gun."

Hardy first spoke about that gift to Taste of Country before last month's 2023 ACM Awards, where "Wait in the Truck" won two trophies. In addition to earning multiple accolades, the song went No. 1 at country radio, and Hardy says he picked out the special gift in order to commemorate a milestone achievement, both for the artists' personal careers as well as its broader significance in the country format.

"I think it was a special moment for country music, to have a murder ballad," he explains, "and kinda proves that the songs that country music was built on can still survive today. There's something really special about all that, and I just wanted to commemorate that."

Hardy also appreciates the sentiment of creating a special item as a permanent marker of a big accomplishment. As another example, he held up the chain around his neck, which has a small rectangular pendant with the word "Dangerous" etched on the front and "Hardy" on the back.

"This was given to me by Ernest as a gift from the Dangerous Tour," he relates, referring to Morgan Wallen's record-breaking 2022 tour, where he and Ernest both performed as supporting acts.

"It's something that I'll have for the rest of my life, because I can look at something and remember all the great times and all the great things that happened because of that," Hardy goes on to say. "And that's one of the reasons why I'm giving [Wilson]... this gift she hasn't received yet."

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