Luke Bryan - I’ll Stay Me
By: Brianna Nightingale, CSO Staff Journalist
Luke Bryan learned all about hard work while he was growing
up on his parents’ peanut farm in Leesburg, GA. His
childhood was also the time when he acquired his love for
“I had one of those little suitcase record players that I
called my ‘rec-rec’; I would listen to Ronnie Milsap and
Alabama on it all day and I mean ALL DAY,” he said in his
website biography. With Bryan becoming increasingly more
interested in music, his parents bought him a guitar at age 14
and by 16, he was writing songs twice a week with two other
Everyone who heard Bryan play encouraged him to move to
Nashville and expand his horizons. Bryan liked the idea.
However, the day he planned to leave, his older brother was
killed in a car accident. Bryan immediately cancelled all of
the plans he had previously laid out and enrolled in classes
at Georgia Southern University, which was close to his
The death of his brother influenced him greatly, giving him
“a whole new appreciation for life,” he said. “You take
each day as a special day. I don’t take anything for granted
Once he had earned his degree and worked quite some time
for his father, people began trying to persuade Bryan to
attempt the move to Nashville once again. His father took him
for a drive one day and said to him, “Music is what you were
meant to do. You either quit this job and move to Nashville or
I’m going to fire you.”
With that being said, Bryan moved to Nashville on the first
day of September in 2001, performed at local clubs in his free
time and was discovered a few months later by someone from
Capitol Records. That eventually led him down the road to his
debut album from Capitol, I’ll Stay Me.
Although it was just released in the middle of August, this
contemporary country album has already helped create quite a
fan base for Bryan. The CD includes 11 tracks, most of which
he co-wrote. The title track, which has an enjoyable beat to
it, describes how nobody is ever satisfied with what they
have; we always want more.
A few weeks after his album release, Bryan opened a concert
I attended with “Country Man,” my personal favorite. He
performed an outstanding show at an old rodeo barn called
DC’s Country Junction in Lowell, Indiana. Bryan expected a
much smaller crowd than he ended up with but loved every
minute of it.
Besides “All My Friends Say,” the powerful, humorous
tune that we heard on the radio first, there are two other
songs that have vastly contributed to Bryan’s success.
“Baby’s On the Way” earned Bryan his record deal and
although it is not on this album, Bryan wrote Billy
Currington’s number 1 hit, “Good Directions.”
“Pray About Everything,” another one of my favorites
(okay, I like them all), is one more hopeful tune included on
the album; you won’t want to miss it.
“We Rode In Trucks” and “Tackle Box” are nostalgic
songs inspired by his discoveries as a child while “The Car
In Front of Me” continuously tugs at heart strings.
Bryan’s debut album certainly deserves some dignified
attention. Not only do these tunes sound great on a CD but his
southern drawl and country boy look combine with his excellent
stage presence to make these songs come alive during his live
performances. Bryan’s tour is keeping him busy; he recently
opened once more in the Chicagoland area for Josh Gracin at
the Sandwich Fair in northern Illinois. Beginning again with
“Country Man” and finishing with “All My Friends Say,”
Bryan kept everyone on their feet throughout his 45 minute
show. Also included in that set were “You Make Me Want
To,” “Good Directions,” “Baby’s On the Way,”
Conway Twitty’s “Lay You Down” and Bryan’s own “We
Rode In Trucks.”
With everything he has done on his album and in shows,
Bryan has made quite a great impression already. The fans are
not the only ones loving every minute of his grand entrance to
the country music world; he is too.
"The day I moved to Nashville and every day since then
has been the best day of my life," Bryan said. “I
don’t consider one thing I’ve done since I’ve been in
Nashville work. Spreading fertilizer and hauling peanut
wagons, that’s work. Doing interviews and playing for fun
crowds, I’ll never consider that a job.”
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