ABC Audio

Hardy, alias Michael Hardy, has had success as an artist with songs like “Rednecker,” and as a songwriter, writing hits like “Up Down,” “Simple” and “I Don’t Know About You.” But co-writing Blake Shelton‘s #1 hit “God’s Country” has now earned him a nomination for CMA Song of the Year, which he says is a very big deal.

“I was a songwriter for so many years, and there’s a few really high honors that you can have as a songwriter,” he told ABC Audio on Monday. “Song of the Year is obviously, if not number one on the list, it’s right there with one of the highest honors.”

But even more valuable than that may be Hardy’s newfound friendship with Blake and his girlfriend Gwen Stefani.

“He [texted me and] asked if I wanted to come be in the ‘Hell Right’ music video,” Hardy recalled. “So me and my girlfriend went and spent two days with him and Gwen and some of their friends on their ranch…and it was, like, crazy!”

“He’s just the coolest guy,  Gwen is super-cool, they were both so down to earth and just made us feel…very at home,” he added. “It was just one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my life.”

In fact, Hardy said, at one point, he and his girlfriend were riding around in an old truck with Blake and Gwen, looking at all the exotic animals on Blake’s ranch.

“We just rode around the farm for like an hour and just talked,” he gushed. “And it was like, ‘What is our life right now???’”

Tune in to the 53rd annual CMA Awards, airing Wednesday, November 13 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET to see if “God’s Country” wins Song of the Year.

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