Set to headline CMC Rocks Qld next March, Georgia-raised breakaway superstar Luke Bryan – he of the impish grin and manicured stubble – has long been one of contemporary Nashville’s most ebullient personalities. There’s no end in sight to the heaving portable party that is the singer’s live show, with this year’s Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day US tour packing out arenas from coast to coast. Not to mention the fact that the party anthems featured on coming-of-age manifestos Spring Break…Here to Party (2013) and Spring Break…Checkin’ Out (2015) – think ‘Suntan City’ and ‘Checkin’ Out’ – seem to have enjoyed regular rotation on PA systems at every summer festival since their release.
At the 51st Annual CMA Awards last week, Luke performed his new single ‘Light It Up’ which is burning up charts right now ahead of the album What Makes You Country Dec 8th release.
Luke pronounced himself as excited as everyone else about country’s night of nights.
“I still get fired up that they let me in the room…I get to walk the red carpet, ride here in limos, have people dress me and do my hair. What will my Dad think? My Dad’s like, ‘What have they done with my boy?’”
Luke was up for Entertainer of the Year (nabbed for second year in a row by goliath Garth Brooks) – a title he won in both 2014 and 2015 – where he was nominated alongside his pal Keith Urban, and in his usual role of class clown, at a rehearsal he seriously averred that “smelling Keith Urban” was always a highlight for him on these big occasions…apparently Keith “smells fantastic.”
Like fellow Georgia son Zac Brown, Bryan is one of the country fold’s foremost purveyors of carefree good times – a contributing factor, no doubt, in his selection as a judge on the forthcoming season of American idol.
Entertaining his fans has always been Bryan’s raison dêtre, and the driving force in his autoluminescent career to date. As The Tennessean newspaper recently summed it up, “Luke Bryan’s career philosophy in the past 12 months carried him from stages in cornfields to the half-time spotlight at the Super Bowl and now onto the judging panel on American Idol.”
Or, as Bryan himself put it in speaking to the publication: “If you fall in line with the other cows, you’re just going to end up at the same barn.”
It’s a bent that finds ample expression across Bryan’s eighth studio album What Makes You Country. But that’s just one small part of the picture. Behind the winning smile, the 41-year-old singer’s experiences encompass both unthinkable tragedy and unrivalled triumph – and, oddly enough, repeated brushes with R&B icon Lionel Richie, with whom Bryan performed in Las Vegas at the close of last year. As Bryan’s wife of 11 years, Caroline, recently told America’s ABC News, when it comes to Luke Bryan, “there is no act.”
… read the full story in Issue 87