Faith & Family First

Luke Bryan’s family values run deep — deeper than the fun lovin’, tailgate-partying songsmith would have most folks believe. He doesn’t just talk about putting God and family first, Bryan lives by example.
When tragedy hit close to home, he put his own dreams of having a career in country music on the back burner and he stayed on his family’s Georgia peanut farm to help his folks out.
It wasn’t until his daddy told him to “pack up his truck and hit the road” that he took that leap of faith and drove to Nashville to start knocking on doors. When opportunities came up, he grabbed on with both hands and has been making the most of each and every one.
He’s been on one hell of a “roller coaster” ride ever since he hit town in 2007, and he’s taken his legions of fans right along with him around all the curves, bumps and loop-de-loops. More than all his butt-grinding moves, smooth high baritone vocals and hit songs, it is his belief system that truly resonates and connects with Bryan’s fans. Having the talent to back it all up doesn’t hurt either.
Soon after his arrival in Nashville, Bryan joined a publishing house in the city and began his career writing songs for his longtime friends Travis Tritt and Billy Currington. Bryan wrote the title track of Tritt’s 2004 album My Honky Tonk History and Currington’s single “Good Directions,” which went to No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart in mid-2007.
He was signed by Capitol Nashville to a recording contract and co-wrote his debut single, “All My Friends Say,” with producer Jeff Stevens. This song peaked at No. 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart. In August 2007, Capitol Nashville released Bryan’s debut album, I’ll Stay Me. He wrote or co-wrote all but one of its 11 songs. The album’s second single, “We Rode in Trucks,” peaked at No. 33 while “Country Man” reached No. 10.
Bryan has been on fire ever since.
His follow-up album Doin’ My Thing included “Do I,” which Bryan co-wrote with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and the No. 1 singles “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby” on the country charts.
Tailgates & Tanlines, released in 2011, includes “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” and the No. 1 singles “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Drunk on You,” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”
Bryan’s fourth album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013 and includes the No. 1 singles “Crash My Party,” “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Drink a Beer,” “Play It Again,” “Roller Coaster” and “I See You.”
“Drink A Beer” is particularly personal to Bryan, even though he didn’t write the song, nor was it written for him, but as fate would have it, the song fit like a glove.
Songwriters Jim Beavers and Chris Stapleton chose to walk on the dark side and make it about someone who passed away.
Bryan connected to the song because he lost both siblings, his brother Chris and sister Kelly, and he sings it to honor them. It was one of those situations where the right artist and the right song found one another and made magic together.
His fifth album, Kill the Lights, was released in August 2015 and its lead single, “Kick the Dust Up,” became his 13th No. 1 song, followed by his 14th No. 1 “Strip It Down.”
He co-wrote over half of the songs on the album, which also illustrates not only his country flare, but also has tracks that include a disco type beat along with the songs of romance. The album sold 345,000 total copies its first week and beat out Dr. Dre’s Compton to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album’s third single, “Home Alone Tonight,’ became his 15th No. 1 hit, followed by “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.” In fact, all six singles reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, making Bryan the first artist in the 27-year history of the chart to achieve six No. 1 singles from one album.
Beginning with his Academy of Country Music wins for top New Vocalist and Artist, Bryan has racked up a truckload of awards since his first album. He claimed a whopping nine wins at the 2012 American Country Awards, and has earned Entertainer of the Year honors from both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association. Bryan also has taken home trophies from the American Country Countdown Awards, the Billboard Music Awards and the iHeartRadio Music Awards.
To date, Bryan has sold over 7 million albums and 27 million singles worldwide.
In 2016, Bryan was selected as one of 30 artists to perform on “Forever Country,” a mash-up cover of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” which celebrated 50 years of the CMA Awards.
Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie are the new judges for the revival of “American Idol,” season 16, on ABC, which debuted March 11.
What Makes You Country, Bryan’s latest album released in December 2017, could be his most autobiographical to date and answers his own question.
“I’ve gotten to follow all my dreams and still remain true to who I am as a person,” he stated. “I just try to go in the studio and record music that makes me happy, makes me feel something and makes me emotional at times, songs that I visualize my crowd reacting to.
“What makes me country is where I was raised in Leesburg, Georgia,” he adds. “I was brought up with manners and raised with a work ethic that has played an important role to where I am today.”
The first single “Light It Up,” helped the album become Bryan’s fourth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200. Only last month Bryan released the album’s second single, “Most People Are Good,” with its positive, uplifting message, along with the accompanying video released only a few weeks ago. He is currently in the middle of his “What Makes You Country Tour,” and the Laughlin Event Center is one of the stops when Bryan takes the stage Saturday, April 7.
Bryan’s live shows have sold out arenas across the country, while his music continues to evolve, mainly because Bryan has never forgotten who he is, where he comes from and how important the fans are to him.
“My main thing is to keep upping the ante and upping the sound and staying creative,” he stated. “I don’t want to give the fans the same thing year in and year out. I want to give them something they’ll come back to for years and years to come.
“I aspire to do it for many years at a high level and keep growing it,” he added. “It’s amazing looking out there and knowing that the people in the audience are your crowd. They came to see you. It’s what I dreamed of when I moved to town.”
Despite all of that, family is still everything.
“I can’t be more happy in life than when I’ve got my family with me and I get to go out and do shows for a living,” says Bryan. “The only negative about this business is being away from your family, so when they’re out on the road with me, the negatives are removed and it’s nothing but positives.”
He also loves his fans to pieces, constantly reminding him “just how wonderful my fans are. It’s every emotion possible.”
While awards are “validation,” Bryan is all about “pinch-me moments.”
“Every night that I’m selling places out is a pinch-me moment,” he says humbly. “When a fan comes up to me in the Boston airport because she recognized me is a pinch-me moment. I tend to have a lot of pinch-me moments. There’s a lot of amazing stuff coming my way and I try to remember it and appreciate it.”


LUKE BRYAN

Laughlin Event Center

Saturday, April 7 (8 p.m.)

See “Showtimes” for tickets