Six Pack of Pop: Luke Bryan
September 11, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com
Luke Bryan can lay claim to having the No. 1 country record with “That’s My Kind Of Night,” and his album, “Crash My Party” recently debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. Earlier this year, the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford of driver Brad Keselowski featured a paint scheme promoting the debut of Bryan’s fourth studio album. Bryan discussed NASCAR and country music in a recent chat.
Were you a race fan growing up? A Bill Elliott fan perhaps? Or just a car guy in general?
Obviously there was Awesome Bill from Dawsonville. My dad was a huge Cale Yarborough fan. We’ve always kept our eye on racing. Growing up in the south that’s the way it was. I’m a big Chevy truck guy. But I’ve got two classic Ford Broncos from the early ‘70s that I pull out on the road with me.
What made you choose country music instead of, say, rock?
I just started playing in bars, singing, it just always was something that, when it came down to it, I truly loved it. I loved being on stage in front of fans. It never seemed like there was ever anything else for me to do. Certainly not rock. I would havebeen working in my dad’s peanut mill or fertilizer company well before I would have played rock music. I’m a big classic rock fan, but rock and roll just wasn’t my path.
Is there a favorite song you’ve written? Or a song you wish you had?
I don’t know. I love doing “Country Girl Shake It For Me” every night. It’s still fun. But I’ve got a lot of songs through the years that I’ve certainly enjoyed having had out. I’ve got some songs that I’ve never recorded and never been recorded that are some of my favorite songs. As far as one I wish I’d written, it might be "What I’d Say" by Earl Thomas Conley. That was probably my favorite country song of all time.
Have you seen the face of the country music fan change as your career has evolved?
The fans change. I have a really, really broad fan base, very young fans and very old fans. I think everything – NASCAR is always evolving, country music is always evolving. All forms of something is changing and evolving. I’m not one of these people that sit back and say ‘Those were the good old days’ or ‘Things aren’t like they used to be.’ It’s just the natural progression. I just try to live in the moment and enjoy what’s happening around me right now.
Do you remember your first ‘public’ performance?
Oh gosh. I was playing in a garage in Leesburg, Ga., and got paid $50. I can’t even remember what I sang. I was singing through a karaoke machine.
What’s it like to have your face on a race car?
It’s pretty amazing. I don’t think that’s something you could ever imagine as a kid growing up in Georgia. It was pretty surreal to look at your face on a Miller Lite car. To have the Miller Lite sponsorship that I’ve had for years … I grew up close to Albany, Ga., which has a Miller brewery. So we grew up drinking Miller Lite; the fact that it all came together is pretty crazy.