James Otto, the soulful-voiced country singer famous for his chart-topping debut hit “I Just Got Started Lovin’ You,” is hitting the road for a six-day, six-city tour July 17-22. But this tour will be very different from what country music stars are used to. For the inaugural Rev’n Rods & Heartland Music Tour, Otto will serve not only as a nightly host and performer in a series of concerts by country legends, but he’ll also be a kind of high-horsepower pied piper for a rolling car show filled with thousands of enthusiasts who share his love for power, performance, and the open road.
“It’s a car show every day and a rocking country concert every night, with a parade of hot rods driving to each stop of the tour with me,” says Otto. “As the Grand Marshall, I’ll be leading the parade from city to city in my ’66 Chevy C-10 that I’ve dubbed “For Pete’s Sake” in honor of my grandpa Pete, who gave me the truck.”
The tour will rock and roll its way from Nashville, Tenn., to Indianapolis, Ind., with stops in Mississippi, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana along the way. In Bean Blossom, Ind. – home of the legendary Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festival Center – Otto’s band will join him in a full concert headline performance. At the other tour stops, Otto will host and open the nightly show at 6 p.m. with a solo acoustic set, before the headline act takes the stage.
A love of cars and music has always been part of Otto’s life. As a kid he watched in fascination as his dad built race cars, and felt the chest-pounding throb when each machine was unleashed on local dragstrips. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Otto decided to pursue music full-time and moved to Nashville. His creativity and talent as a songwriter and singer paid off with chart-topping success and two Grammy nominations.
With some of the earnings from his music career, Otto revisited his childhood passion for performance cars. Over the years, his collection included Chevrolet Chevelles, K5 Blazers and a 1960 Cadillac, but it was a phone call from his grandfather, Pete Lee, in 2012 that set the stage for his dream machine.
Grandpa Pete was downsizing and offered his grandson the ’66 Chevrolet pickup that Otto had grown up with, learned to drive in, and loaded with countless bales of hay. Otto jumped at the chance to head back to the family farm in North Dakota, open up the barn, dust off the Chevy and claim his legacy. He quickly devised a grand plan to transform the great old machine into something special, hoping to someday pass it on to his daughter Ava, 5, and future generations of the family.
The ’66 Chevy C-10 is now a pro-touring, auto-crossing head-turner designed for daily driving. It was re-built by Brent Buttrey of Buttrey Built and Tri-Works Hot Rods in Nashville. It’s powered by a 500-hp 6-liter Chevy LS engine, built by John Bouchard of JR Racing Engines in place, which connects to a Bowler T-56 six-speed transmission. It sports RideTech Suspension and Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on 19-inch Forgeline RB3C concave wheels.
“It’s gone from haulin’ hay to haulin’ ass,” said Grant Salter with Tri-State Hot Rods.
Grandpa Pete passed away before the C-10’s transformation was completed, so when Otto cruises the hills and valleys of the scenic, tree-lined tour route, he’ll have a special co-pilot: the memory of his grandfather riding in the passenger’s seat.
“I’m bringing the truck on the tour to celebrate Americana, the open road, and my passions for both music and the hot-rodding hobby,” Otto said. “I can’t wait to share my songs, meet my fellow car lovers, and tell a tale or two about Grandpa Pete.”
The inaugural Rev’n Rods & Heartland Music Tour stops in Nashville, Tenn., on July 17. The car show is free to spectators from noon to 6 p.m. Nightly concerts take the stage at 6 p.m. Concert tickets are available at RevnTour.com and onsite.
Specialty vehicle owners can register a car, truck or motorcycle online for $250 (full tour) or $35 (one day only). Concert tickets are included with entry.
For more information, visit RevnTour.com or call 423-468-5121. Fans can follow the Rev’n Tour on Facebook and Twitter (@RevnTV), and join the conversation using #REVNTV.