As a rising country star, the chance to serve as an opening act for a bigger, more established artist can take your career to a whole new level. From learning how a tour operates behind the scenes to getting the chance to watch the headlining performance from backstage, the list of lessons that an opening act can learn out on the road is endless.

Everyone's done it, too: Miranda Lambert was opening for Dierks Bentley the year after releasing her debut album. Rascal Flatts spent some time opening for Alan Jackson in the early 2000s. Vince Gill even once opened for KISS! And it's a guarantee they all learned something during that time that's helped them later on in their careers.

Back when they were up-and-comers, The Boot caught up with artists such as Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Luke Combs and Kelsea Ballerini -- now all major names themselves -- to discuss how serving as the opening act for a bigger-name artist helped them learn about life on the road and in the music business. Flip through the photo gallery below to read their responses.

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