A local man who is part of a country music duo is reaching stardom with an Academy of County Music Award nomination, a performance at the Grand Ole Opry and a scheduled tour with country star Blake Shelton.
Shay Mooney, 22, of Natural Dam is one half of the country music duo Dan+Shay, which was announced Wednesday as one of five nominees for an ACA Award for Vocal Duo of the Year. His partner is Dan Smyers.
Shay is the son of Rick and Cindy Mooney, owners of Rick Mooney Construction.
"That’s kind of the Grammy’s for country music," said Rick, who seemed stunned after hearing the news about the ACA nomination. "For Shay to be nominated is almost…unbelievable."
Dan+Shay also will perform Saturday at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., and are scheduled for a nationwide music tour with Hunter Hayes and winner of the "The Voice," Danielle Bradbery.
The duo also will perform with Blake Shelton and The Band Perry on Shelton’s Ten Times Crazier Tour 2014, set to begin in June.
Though dates and locations for the Shelton tour have not been released, Rick Mooney said a performance at Alltel Arena in Little Rock is expected.
Dan+Shay signed with Warner Music Nashville several months ago, and the duo’s single, "19 You + Me" is No. 19 on the Country Billboard charts. In January they were named as one of CoutryMusicIsLove.com’s (CMIL) "Ones to Watch" in 2014.
Rick called it "unreal" to "even think that your son is at that level."
"Proud is the only word I can think of; I’m his biggest fan," Rick said.
Shay and Smyers also write their own songs, and Shay has two songs that Rascal Flats are considering for recording, Rick said.
"His writing ability is what has opened the door for him as much as anything," Rick said.
Shay has been singing since he was young, at church and talent shows in Crawford County, Rick said. He began writing songs at 14 and began learning the guitar at 16, according to his website. He officially moved to Nashville last year to focus on his music career.
"One of the proudest things I am of Shay is that he’s still Shay. He’s still down to Earth and [success] hasn’t changed him. He’s still a good young man….he doesn’t think he’s better than anybody," Rick said.
Shay’s parents left Thursday night to see Shay perform at the Grand Ole Opry.
"That’s going to be quite an honor to have our son performing there," Rick said.
Smyers and Shay met in December of 2012 in Nashville and began writing and then later performing together, according to their website. Smyers is from Wexford, Pa. The two are currently recording their debut album in Nashville, which is expected to be released next year on Warner Bros. Records.
Dan + Shay will tour throughout 2014. For schedules and locations, or to watch their music video, go to www.danandshay.com.