Monday morning means it’s time for another Rhythm & Boots #MondayHero. Today, our featured artist is a guy who is more or less synonymous with popular country music in this day and age and not by coincidence, he also happened to just release his sixth full-length studio album this past Friday. Today’s #MH is country heartthrob and Georgia native, Luke Bryan.
Growing up on a peanut farm in south central Georgia, Luke was seemingly born to be a country music singer-songwriter. His family knew from a young age that he would eventually leave Georgia to pursue a music career in Nashville, and they hoped t it was only a matter of time before his songwriting talent became recognized in the country music community. His departure from his hometown of Leesburg shortly after high school was delayed, however, by the tragic passing of his brother in an automobile accident. Luke has described his brother’s death by saying it became very difficult for him to leave his family right away, so he instead decided to attend Georgia Southern University and work on his father’s farm for a few years after graduating. With his BS of Business Administration in hand, he finally moved to Nashville in the early 2000s to work for a publishing house and night shift at bars around town.
After being spotted by A&R reps in 2007, Bryan was signed to his own record deal and geared up for his first record release, I’ll Stay Me, which immediately brought him into the spotlight. Tracks like “All My Friends Say”, “We Rode In Trucks”, and “Country Man” came to define Luke’s country boy drinkin’ and partyin’ boy persona and still serve as some of the most audience-demanded songs at his live shows.
His latest addition to the discography, the hit-stacked What Makes You Country, is a direct homage to his childhood years in Georgia, and an subtle response to the pervasive “bro-country” criticism that Bryan has endured throughout his career. From the playful and celebratory cuts like “Drinking Again” and “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset” to the thoughtful and descriptive additions like “Land Of A Million Songs” and “Most People Are Good”, this Bryan record is (to the dismay of many) exactly what makes Luke Bryan himself. Whereas most of his highest-charting songs are excerpts about partying and tailgating, the deeper cuts throughout his career reflect his ability to tap into shared feelings, reflect on his youth, and connect with people on an effectual level.
At this point in his career, Luke is a full-blown phenomenon. In addition to selling out stadium shows and playing some of the biggest music festivals in country music, he has a library of six LPs and eight EPs that include seventeen #1 hits. In a career that is only just beginning its second decade of existence, these numbers certainly speak for themselves. Despite all of the critiques that Luke has faced thus far, he knows that his expertise is connecting with his extremely engaging fan base on a personal level and delivering enjoyable tunes (fitting for both a beach and a backyard) time and time again.
Need some Luke Bryan in your life this second?? Click here for the Rhythm & Boots specially-tailored Spotify playlist.
In the meantime, let’s talk music.
Four in Focus
- “We Rode In Trucks” (2007) – Out of all of Bryan’s hits, we’re going to start with this one because of its explanatory nature. This song’s simple title flawlessly reflects its simple nature, and Luke uses the four and a half minutes of play time to outline his childhood to those who are listening. As one of Luke’s earliest songs, it allows his audience to understand his story from the very beginning, thus establishing a fan base that goes deeper than just his number one singles and crossover hits. Get to know this song, and then you can get to know Luke Bryan.
- “Rain Is a Good Thing” (2009) – Being one of Luke’s most traditionally country songs, this hit track is without a doubt included in the Four in Focus. Starting out the song again with a closer look into his life growing up on the peanut farm, Luke gives us an alternate perspective on one of Mother Nature’s greatest annoyances. Even though the weathermen in the city might be complaining, a nice rainstorm here and there leaves the agricultural community rejoicing, and this song lets everyone else in on the action for a solid three minutes during the opening number to his second full-length studio album.
- “Drink A Beer” (2013) – Written by longtime Nashville writer and recent headliner Chris Stapleton (listen closely for his background vocals), this third selection is somewhat reflective of the multiple tragic events that Bryan has endured throughout his life up until now. In addition to losing his brother in a car accident as a teenager, his older sister Kelly passed away from undetermined causes only a few days after she had organized Luke’s debut at the Grand Ole Opry back in 2007. Whether it be a person, pet, or part of life that you’re missing, turn on this little taste of nostalgia, sip a fresh Bud Light, and reminisce. I think we can all get on board with that.
- “Most People Are Good” (2017) – I chose this number from his latest release as a featured song today specifically to combat the widespread criticism that Bryan receives from artists and critics in the country music industry and otherwise. While a lot of Luke’s content inarguably revolves around spending Friday nights in dive bars and Saturday afternoons on the beach, it is absolutely possible to get more out of him. If you’re not a big fan of his “bro-country” sound, ignore his top hits; instead, focus on his album’s deeper cuts and you’re guaranteed to find something you like. This song, which delivers a positive message in an agreeable manner, is a perfect example of Luke’s potential to do good. In today’s tumultuous world, there’s nothing more important that that. Hats off to songwriters David Frazier, Ed Hill, and Josh Kear for this one, and thank you Luke for deciding to record it.
“I believe most people are good,
And most mommas ought to qualify for sainthood,
I believe most Friday nights,
Look better underneath neon stadium lights,
I believe you love who you love,
Ain’t nothin’ you should ever be ashamed of,
I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks,
I believe most people are good…”
Still need to know more? Find some more LB info on his website or at his social media handles below!
Thanks for reading! We’ll be skipping a #FridayFind this week but stay tuned for an all-new #MondayHero and #FridayFind in the week of December 18th! In the meantime, follow R&B on all social media platforms @rhythm.boots and @rhythm_boots and Rhythm & Boots.
Finally, if you’ve been seeing a lot of country artists sporting a “This Shirt Saves Lives” tee, go to the St. Jude’s website to donate to cancer research today and receive your very own t-shirt!!