BUTLER, Ala. —
Meridian will be one of several stops for a nationwide music tour designed to promote a better trucking industry image.
The Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour will be at the TravelCenters of America Stopping Center on Russell-Mt. Gilead Road on Sept. 25. Highway Angel spokesperson and country recording artist Lindsay Lawler will be the featured entertainer at the event that runs from 4-6 p.m.
Sponsored by TravelCenters of America/Petro Stopping Centers (TA/Petro), the 26-stop tour – which kicked off mid-August and continues to Oct. 30 – will travel throughout the Southeast and Midwest at TA and Petro Stopping Center-branded locations. Through exposure of the Truckload Carriers Association's Highway Angel program, the tour is the first attempt of its kind by the trucking industry to restore its "knights of the highway" image.
"For the longest time, the trucking and country music industries went hand-in-hand ... Somewhere along the line that relationship fizzled," said Lawler, who has written and recorded several trucking-themed songs which spotlight the trucking lifestyle in a positive way, including "Highway Angel," "For the Long Haul" and "He Loves the Road."
"We're looking forward to rebuilding that relationship and expanding the reach of a positive trucking industry image to those outside the industry through music," she said.
The Highway Angel program seeks to recognize and reward the good deeds of professional truck drivers – ranging from simple acts of kindness, such as fixing a flat tire, to heroic life-saving efforts, such as pulling someone from a burning vehicle and administering CPR. In addition to special recognition by TCA and the driver's company, the Highway Angel program seeks to promote greater public recognition of all Angels through the placement of select Angel stories in industry trade press and on social media.
Lawler formed a partnership with the Truckload Carriers Association after performing at the 2010 Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas, and has since been named the official spokeswoman of their Highway Angels program.
TA/Petro President and CEO Thomas M. O'Brien commends the country musician's mission to bring to light the positive aspects of the trucking industry, noting that it complements what the company has been doing for some time.
"Trucking and truck driving are great professions with terrific hard-working men and women," O'Brien said. "We are happy to help put the spotlight on their work and entertain our guests at the same time."
Each stop will feature an hour-long acoustic performance by Lawler from atop a flatbed truck.
"We're bringing music to the drivers, since they don't really have time to go to a concert while out on the road," she said.
In addition to the concert, Lawler will conduct a live, two-hour radio remote through Renegade Radio Nashville, with whom she already hosts two radio shows (including On The Road to Nashville, which is trucking industry-centered). During the remote, a segment called "Highway Angels on the Road," will allow drivers to share their road stories.
Another segment called "Truckers Got Talent," will allow truckers – and non-truckers – to share their talents. One winner will be chosen from each of the 26 stops and an overall winner will be chosen to perform in Nashville for the close of the tour.
"The radio remote allows the tour to be more interactive," Lawler said. "We encourage truckers, their families and everyone from the community to come out."
The Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour will complete its September presentation with performances in Slidell, La., on Sept. 26 and Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sept. 27. The tour will continue in October with stops in Arkansas, Georgia, North and South Carolina and culminating in Tennessee.
Want to go?
What: Highway Angel Truck Stop Tour featuring Lindsay Lawler
When: Sept. 25, from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Where: TravelCenters of America Stopping Center, 2150 Russell-Mt. Gilead Road
Information: Visit the website www.truckstoptour.com