Thomas Rhett's headlining Very Hot Summer Tour came to a close on Oct. 12 with a much-anticipated stop at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. And when that last note was played, chances are that Russell Dickerson looked up and smiled.

And after that, he might have gotten downright sad that it's over.

“Thomas Rhett is so generous,” he tells Taste of Country during a recent tour stop in Chicago. “All through this tour, we have just had free reign. I mean, you can just go on [Rhett's] bus and have a beer. That’s what happens when you tour with friends. It’s just so easy. His wife [Lauren] and my wife [Kailey] are just great friends. You just can’t explain how easy it is and you can’t replace or mimic that.”

He’ll also miss Rhett's daughters, Willa Gray and Ada James.

“They run this ship,” Dickerson says with a laugh. “They walk into catering and everyone just stops.”

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But even more important than seeing Rhett be a daddy is the chance for Dickerson to observe Rhett's personal and professional success story…and how he can learn from it.

“Thomas is an amazing songwriter,” says the “Every Little Thing” hitmaker.  “He’s vulnerable and he just talks about his life. I’m an artist. People who listen to my music want to hear about me, know my wife, know about our story and my story and they want to hear about my life. What does our life look like and how can you put that into a song? I picked that up from Thomas."

That very real thread will carry forward throughout much of Dickerson’s next album, which he hopes to release "early next year."

“Yeah, I know it's been a long time since the last album,” Dickerson concedes. ”It’s been a journey. To get three songs up the charts, it takes so long as a new artist. But yeah, it’s a good problem to have. But yeah, I’ve already recorded half the record. I know we will probably do four or more songs more and yeah, it’s going to tell some of our story. I can’t wait for the fans to hear it.”

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