DIARY - 3 JUNE 2012 - LUKE BRYAN FEATURE
HUNKS - HEDONISM AND HEARTBREAK
little boom in my big truck/ gonna open up the doors and turn it up/ gonna
stomp my boots in the Georgia mud/ gonna watch you make me fall in love/
get up on the hood of my daddy's tractor/ up on the tool box it don't
matter/ down on the tailgate girl I can't wait/ to watch you do your thing."
- Country Girl (Shake It For Me.) - Luke Bryan-Dallas Davidson.
gaucho Luke Bryan rides in the same caboose as fellow hatless hunk Keith
That posse of young singers making Nashville hat-agnostic also includes
Urban, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner and others.
And, like Urban and Shelton, Luke has utilised reality TV to shine his
southern spotlight beyond mainstream country media.
Urban and Shelton ignited their profiles and sales on The Voice
franchises with help on red carpets and silver screens from spouses Nicole
Kidman and Miranda Lambert.
Kidman's acting CV includes the evocative Cold Mountain music movie
with Loretta Lynn producer Jack White.
Now Lambert, 27, has followed young superstar Taylor Swift, 22, into TV
Miranda joined fellow Texan Lyle Lovett and rapper Ice Tea in Law &
Order: SVU after Swift finished up as a slender corpse in CSI - Vegas.
In the SVU episode an aspiring actress is found unconscious in Central
Park with drugs in her system and evidence of sexual trauma.
Lambert is cast as another actress who is in danger of being assaulted
by the producer of a reality TV show.
Harry Connick Jr. and Michael McKean also guest star in the episode.
Meanwhile back to Bryan who followed Gloriana, one time support act down
under for Swift, on The Bachelorette - a reality show shot in North
Bryan had already topped the Billboard charts on debut with third album
Tailgates & Tanlines (Capitol-EMI) but there was a sales spike
after his Bachelorette cameo last month.
Aided by rural rooted videos and twittering social media, Luke has long
connected with an increasingly young audience that has extended sales
way beyond platinum.
His massive success also has pitfalls - fake Luke Bryan Facebook pages
ensure the singer has also been stung by the twittering classes.
But that may have been eased by Miller Lite sponsorship from 2008 - a
liquid conduit to the masses.
peanut dust and corn husks drifting through the air tonight/ the marching
band's warming up under the football lights/ there's tractor trailers
backed up down by the elevator/ train truck grain will roll in later/
get filled up and head out into the world." - Harvest Time - Luke
like Oklahoma native Shelton, grew up on a farm near a tiny town.
And he also suffered a sibling tragedy as a teenager long before his
ascent to the honky tonks, chart success and stadiums.
Lambert and Shelton depicted the death of Blake's older brother Richie,
killed on November 13, 1990, in a car accident at 24, in her hit Over
Shelton, now 34, was only 14 at the time of Richie's death.
Bryan was performing in country bands around his hometown Leesburg
by the time he was 16.
from his older brother, Chris, he planned to move to Nashville when he
finished high school.
Just as that was about to happen Chris was killed in a car accident.
Bryan decided to remain at home, work in his family's farming businesses
and enrol at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.
He continued to play in country bands as he worked toward a degree in
business management and revelled in fraternity life.
Bryan, a Sigma Chi, began making a name for himself as lead singer in
a band, Neyami Road.
But Luke sings more of country than campus in his latter day career.
"Georgia Southern is about as rural as where I was brought up,"
"I used to laugh that I could be in class at 3:30 and be on a deer
stand at 3:35."
Neyami Road played two or three nights a week.
"Everybody split the proceeds at the end of the night," Bryan
"We recorded a little CD in Athens and sold 2 or 3,000 around Georgia
Southern. I wrote all the songs on it. It was kind of my first taste at
After completing his degree he moved to Nashville in September 2001.
He had plenty of practical experience under his belt but was still innocent
in the music business.
know much about that time/ just the smell of the air and your hand in
mine/ riding the strip sitting on my lap in the back of a truck/ with
the only friends I had/ it was spring break, we were out late/ and I thought
goodness for heaven's sake/ when I saw you and then I kissed you."
- Faded Away - Luke Bryan-Michael Carter
"I didn't know a thing about it," Bryan now admits.
"I didn't have one contact. Then I met Rachel Proctor - a songwriter
at Murrah Music. I played her some songs, and she introduced me to company
owner (writer Roger.) He really dug the songs that I was writing and decided
to give me a publishing deal."
Capitol offered him a record deal in October 2004.
Despite doing the radio circuit after recording it wasn't until February
of 2007 that Bryan impacted with release of All My Friends Say before
his album in August.
Capitol planned to include Good Directions on the album under original
title Right Back Here to Me - The Sweet Tea Song.
But fellow Georgian Billy Currington's hit version took off.
"Good Directions began to get so much press and become such
a big song that we felt like at that point it had kind of done what it
was going to do," Bryan says.
"There were lots of times on my radio interviews that I was dedicating
80 to 90 percent of the interview to talking about Good Directions
instead of about All My Friends Say."
So Capitol dropped Good Directions from the album and substituted
Pray About Everything - a song co-written by Bryan's producer,
That was then - now Bryan has blazed his own trail with his third album
produced by Stevens and Mark Bright.
flows underneath the 32 bridge and cuts through the heart of South Georgia/
big copperheads and mean wild pigs and gators in the weeds waiting for
ya/ I leave my phone in the truck, I leave my truck at the road/ my four
wheeler get em where I want to go/ I leave the world behind, I pull my
hat down low/ get back to my roots by a full mean glow." - Muckalee
Creek Water - Luke Bryan-Patrick Jason Matthews.
rural roots in only two of seven original tunes on his third disc - for
a good reason.
music nails urban audiences who shot the album to #1 on debut on
Bryan and Georgian co-writers Dallas Davidson, Rhett Atkins and
Ben Hayslip - aka The Peach Pickers - set the mood on entrée
Country Girl (Shake It For Me) and I Don't Want This Night
Ironically there is no song called Tailgates & Tanlines
- just the Brent Cobb-Neil Medley tune Tailgate Blues.
Alabama stone country singer Ashton Shepherd provides backing vocals
for a robust melody that perhaps parodies the tailgating fad.
"I was goin' down the road, and my manager texted me, Album
title: Tailgates & Tanlines." Bryan recalled.
I said, 'Where'd you get that?' And the head of my label's promotion
department came up with it. And it's a long shot for me to sign
off on it. So I see it, and then the more I thought about it, the
more I thought it was a great album title."
keen to reprise the title in a song for his fourth album.
"We've already got things in place where we're working on that title,
so hopefully it'll be on the next album," Bryan added.
"I think thematically what that title says, and we refer to tailgates
in a few songs, but it says youth and rural and everything I want an album
title to say."
Luke received massive exposure as support on the Emotional Rescue tour
by singing actor Tim McGraw who enjoyed his second Australian tour in
March with singing spouse Faith Hill and the Texan Eli Young Band.
Bryan's shift in headgear doesn't escape some of his songs.
Neither does paternity - Bryan and his wife, Caroline, called their first
son Bo before adding another child to the family in August, 2010.
So it's easy for Bryan to perform a posse of positive love songs - Kiss
Tomorrow Goodbye, Faded Away, I Know You're Gonna Be There.
But he can still relive his not so distant past in the hedonistic Too
Damn Young and Drunk On You.
Too Damn Young - previously cut by another Georgian Julie Roberts
on her Men and Mascara CD depicts a couple who fall in love young.
The song title suggests maybe date rape or carnal knowledge.
But the lyric explains two young lovers were "too damn young to know
any better" when they first got together to understand what is socially
DON'T KNOW JACK
you think it's just a bottle / in an old brown paper sack / you don't
know Jack." - You Don't Know Jack - Erin Enderley-Shane McAnally.
Know Jack should be a single but may be too dark for radio.
The song title's meaning is twofold.
Initially it's a reference to a man's struggle with the whiskey bottle
- Jack Daniels.
But the lyrics also explore why people with good jobs, stable homes and
lives are blind to the plight of the world's poverty paralysed people.
The homeless character reminds listeners to reflect because they don't
know how difficult it is to live and sleep on the mean streets.
But there is also light relief lurking in the murky depths.
Yo, there are big copperheads and mean wild pigs and gators in the weeds
in Muckalee Creek Water.
But those gators don't have the same bite as Polk Salad Annie or creator
Tony Joe White.
But the album finale I Knew You That Way penned by Jay Clementi
and Texan Radney Foster is a sad song about lost intimacy.
Foster's song suggests the only thing that time can't take away from this
pitiful character was the special way he loved a girl.
The song is more than just booze-fuelled solace over the loss of a lover
- it also explores the pain of wasted memories.
These memories should have remained alive and precious between two passionate
lovers - instead of dying on the vine.
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