PHOTOS: Kelsea Ballerini, Morgan Wallen, and Kenny Chesney Hang With Peyton Manning In Knoxville Ahead Of Tennessee-Alabama Game

East Tennessee natives Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, and Morgan Wallen are decked out in Tennessee Orange today in support of…


Lauren Jo Black

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October 15, 2022

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Morgan Wallen, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, Peyton Manning; Photo Courtesy Saloon 16 Knoxville

East Tennessee natives Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, and Morgan Wallen are decked out in Tennessee Orange today in support of the Tennessee Volunteers. 

It’s the Third Saturday in October, which only means one thing: Alabama and Tennessee are facing off on the field. 

In honor of the long-running rivalry game, Ballerini, Chesney, and Wallen made their way to Knoxville to support their hometown team. The country superstars were spotted hanging together with Peyton Manning before kickoff at Saloon 16 inside The Graduate Knoxville, which is just about half a mile from Neyland Stadium.  

Tennessee alum and NFL legend Peyton Manning served as the College GameDay guest picker and was also hanging with the trio of country artists ahead of the game. 

Manning, who is set to co-host the upcoming 56th Annual CMA Awards alongside Luke Bryan, went 3-1 in his college career against Alabama. According to Knox News, Manning became the first quarterback in Volunteer football history to win three consecutive games against the Crimson Tide from 1995-1997. 

The Volunteers (5-0) and Crimson Tide (6-0) are both undefeated so far this season. Kickoff was at 2:30 pm. 

Kelsea Ballerini returned to her hometown of Knoxville just one day after wrapping up her 10-date HEARTFIRST Tour. The trek was in support of her new album, Subject To Change, which dropped in late September. The album features her latest single, “HEARTFIRST” as well as a collaboration with Carly Pearce and Kelly Clarkson. 

Kenny Chesney, whose Here And Now Tour came to a close in August, recently surprised Ballerini during her visit to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The songstress when genuinely shocked when he joined her on stage to perform their chart-topping duet, “Half Of My Hometown.” 

In the video clips captured by fans, Ballerini can be seen on the other side of the stage crouched down on the ground with her jaw dropped open. At one point, it appears she mouths out, “what the f**k.”

After making her way to Chesney and giving him a hug, the pair delivered a goosebumps-inducing rendition of their CMA-winning collaboration. 

Chesney is making waves with “Beer With My Friends,” his current radio single which features his longtime friends and collaborators, Old Dominion. The music video for the song recaps the Here And Now Tour with scenes from the stadium shows and various pop-up concerts with Old Dominion. 

Morgan Wallen made headlines on Friday evening (Oct. 14) when he made a surprise appearance during Jason Aldean’s headlining concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Wallen joined Aldean for a two-song performance, including his chart-topping hit, “Whiskey Glasses,” and “You Make It Easy,” a song Wallen co-wrote with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley that appears on Aldean’s 2018 Rearview Town album. 

 Wallen recently wrapped his wildly successful The Dangerous Tour when the trek came to a close with his first-ever headlining stadium concert at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. 

The “You Proof” singer has one remaining tour date on the books for 2022: Country Thunder in Florida on Saturday, October 22.  

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.