The new movie marks the country singer’s Hallmark debut.

Advertisement

Saturday night, September 11, kicks off Hallmark Channel's Fall Harvest lineup with Roadhouse Romance, starring one of the network's go-to leading men, Tyler Hynes. Making her Hallmark debut opposite Hynes is country music sensation, Lauren Alaina. Southern Living recently spoke with both stars about their new film, Alaina joining the Hallmark family, country music, and more.

"First of all, everybody loves a Hallmark movie. I cannot do anything cooler for my family, ever, than to be in a Hallmark movie. When I go home for the holidays, I stay with my cousin Holly and my Aunt Kim. And Holly is bedridden due to some health problems, and we lay in bed and watch Hallmark. And I actually recently got to play my movie for Holly, and it was one of the sweetest accomplishments ever in my career," Alaina said of making her debut on the feel-good network.

Roadhouse Romance is set in a fictional town outside of Nashville, and while they didn't actually film in Tennessee, there are several authentic nods that Southerners and country music fans especially will appreciate. Alaina plays Lieutenant Callie Jackson who has just arrived home after a long deployment to find that things back home are not quite as she left them. Her boyfriend has moved on and her family's BBQ restaurant and music venue, Tucker's Roadhouse, is now a struggling business after Grandpa Tucker's death. The roadside spot has long been woven into the fabric of their town, known equally for the delicious BBQ and as being a destination for yet to be discovered musical talent. Callie is determined to turn things around for her family business before starting her new job at the V.A. hospital in town.

The fact that Alaina is playing a soldier and the film debuts on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 is not lost on the Georgia native. "It was really special to me to be able to be a Lieutenant in the Army. My dad's an Army veteran. So that was a nice nod to my father and to all of the service men and women out there… And it's coming out on such an important day in our nation's history. It' is a day of tragedy and a day of celebration for us the way that our nation responded, and it feels really meant to be that my character is in the Army and it's coming out on 9/11 so that we can acknowledge them. Because we would not be this country without them."

She then told us about her father's reaction to her character. "I called my dad the day I put the uniform on, and he cried like a baby on Facetime. Well, he cried and then he said, 'fix your hat,'" she said with a laugh.

Lauren Alaina Tyler Hynes Hallmark Roadhouse Romance
Credit: Copyright 2021 Crown Media United States LLC/Luba Popovic

Hynes' character Luke is a big shot television director and finds himself stopping unexpectedly in Callie's town when his car breaks down. Hynes describes Luke as, "a guy who's sorta from this Hollywood world, this very beautiful car, and perhaps this beautiful life. Juxtaposing to this very sort of middle American sort of place that we're in. And all of the charisma that comes with that place and her [Alaina's] character. I think that the collision of those two worlds is a good quality about this movie and makes it sort of tasty to watch."

Now, of course, Hallmark wasn't going to let Alaina's other talents go to waste, so you'll get her singing three songs in this film that they worked into the storyline seamlessly. Her family owns a country music venue, after all. Callie hops up on stage to perform during Tucker's open mic night and at the town's fall festival. You'll hear her sing her popular song "Run," "What Do You Think Of," which is on her brand new album, Sitting Pretty On Top of the World, and a beautiful cover of Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All."

"She has a natural Southern charisma to her which is very nice. And obviously her voice is beautiful. When she was in her element on that day on that stage singing her heart out. That was very, very fun to watch," Hynes said of watching Alaina sing during filming.

In the movie, Hynes' character knows very little about country music, and Hynes admits that's not too far off the truth. "I'm not a huge country music guy. I, like the character, I love Waylon Jennings, I like Johnny Cash, … I love the roots and I love the essence of that whole world so I can appreciate it," Hynes told us, admitting that before working with Alaina he didn't know much about modern country music.

Alaina's character Callie gives Luke an educational country music playlist, what she considers to be the essentials to make someone fall in love with the genre. So, of course, in real life we asked Alaina what she'd put on her playlist to showcase her favorite tunes she thinks everyone should hear.

"'When You Say Nothing at All,' for sure. Probably, 'He stopped loving her today,' 'She's in love with the boy.' All things Dolly Parton. She's my favorite of all time. I'd probably put 'Fancy' by Reba on there. 'Friends in Low Places,' just because you got to. And for Dolly Parton how about do Dolly's version of 'I will always love you' because everyone needs to hear that," she said.

She then added "'Don't take the girl,' I love that song! George Strait, 'Check yes or no.' and then Alan Jackson 'Chattahoochee' Oh! Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline." Clearly, she could go on and on and quite frankly so could we.

Be sure to tune into Roadhouse Romance premiering on Hallmark Channel, Saturday September 11to find out what is on Callie's playlist for Luke.