Luke Bryan: “One Minute, I’m the Savior of Country Music; the Next, I’ve Ruined It”

Luke Bryan knows all too well that the music business can be something of a fickle mistress.

“One minute, I’m the savior of country music,” Bryan said in the recent year-end Country Aircheck magazine interview, “the next, I’ve ruined it.”

That said, Bryan doesn’t ever want to be that guy. The one who complains about how hard it is to be a country artist these days. “I will never be the guy who criticizes and belly aches about how someone makes music and a living for themselves. I’ve had it happen to me,” he said. “So I’m never going to be that guy.”

In the interview, Bryan goes on to say that country music is evolving, and that’s not a bad thing. “I’ve heard legends say, ’I wish country music would go back to…’ I don’t really understand why we would spend a lot of time trying to sound like people in the 80s and 90s. I get what people are trying to say, but you have to find your own sound.”

Bryan cites Midland, Kane Brown, and Dan + Shay as examples of country artists doing quite well without sounding exactly like the country artists who came before them. As for Dan + Shay, he says, “Is it as country as Merle Haggard? No, but they’re doing their artistry and a lot of people are buying it.”

Then he takes a trip down memory lane, to his early days of playing live and he noticed that the fans there to see him were pretty open-minded about what they liked.

“When I was playing 800-seat honky-tonks, as soon as I came off stage the DJ was playing Flo Rida and daggum T-Pain. Everybody had cowboy hats on and were dancing to rap music.

“Now, people have playlist with all forms of music. The days where everybody just listens to one style of music because that’s the only channel their car will pick up on the radio are gone. People have their music they listen to when they’re on their boat. They’ve got their music for when they ride around their farm. They’ve got their music they listen to when they’re tailgating at a football game. It’s all different, and it all sets a mood that they want to get into.

Bryan just posted his #Top9 of 2019 on his social media pages, and we concur. It has been a fun year. (And thank God his dog finally has his own Instagram.)

Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.