Luke Bryan’s New Album Will Be ‘More In-Your-Face’
Winning the ACM Entertainer of the Year award, scoring a No. 1 album with 'Spring Break ... Here to Party' and selling out every show on the first leg of his Dirt Road Diaries tour, it's obvious Luke Bryan is having a banner year. However, that doesn't mean the Georgia-born performer is ready to rest on his laurels.
"I hope someone thinks I sing good," Luke tells the Boot with that "aw shucks" kind of modesty that is part of his charm. "I'm always working hard to sing better. I sound the way I sound, but I can always be better. I work hard at singing and being a better recording artist."
With an unwavering work ethic, Luke feels he's earned the right to take a few chances and show his diverse musical tastes. "I'm kind of at a point in my career where I can get away with traditional stuff," he says, "and then get away with some more rocky and pop and edgier stuff too."
The singer-songwriter has been in the studio working with producer Jeff Stevens on his fourth studio album for Capitol Records and reveals that there are a couple of songs on the new project that are different from anything he's ever done.
"The guitars hit harder and are a little more in-your-face," he explains. "We've got some drum stuff going on that's quite different. It's almost like a more hip-hoppy kind of drum beat, but at the end of the day I'm singing, so there you go. I've got some fun beats and the lyrics are very country in a lot of this stuff, too."
When asked what he thinks makes a great country song, Luke pauses then replies, "Relatability to a country audience. How much they can relate to it and how much they can plug it into their life and make it be their life. That's it. It doesn't have to be a style of a song. Does the country music fan relate to it and is it talking about their way of life?"
Luke has built a successful career on recording songs fans can identify with; some are songs he's written himself and others are penned by top Music Row songwriters.
"I want to be on the cutting edge," he notes. "I feel like a lot of the songs I've written for this new album are going to be that way."
He says he always tries to include at least one song about rural life. "'Dirt Road Diaries,' in my mind, is a perfect country guy song," he says. "It speaks to the hard-working guy and I'm excited for the fans to hear that one."
The married father of two acknowledges that his schedule sometimes makes it hard for him to concentrate on songwriting. "When I'm in Nashville, I try to catch up, spend time with the family and the boys," he explains. " So [finding] time to put into songwriting is not as much as I used to be able to get in, but songwriting will always be a priority of mine. I will always really work hard to write as much as I can, but I also love sitting back and waiting on those big Nashville songwriters to send me some great songs, too."
Two of Nashville's finest tunesmiths -- Ashley Gorley and Rodney Clawson -- provided Luke with his new single, 'Crash My Party.' "It's a love song and the whole thing is 'baby, you can crash my party anytime whenever you're needing me,'" he says. "It's almost like a mixture of 'Drunk on You' and [Lady Antebellum's] 'Need You Now' wrapped all into one."
His previous studio album, 'Tailgates and Tanlines,' has been a landmark album for Luke, taking his career to an exciting new level, so it's natural for him to feel that the follow-up should rise to -- or exceed -- the level of success of that multi-platinum-selling disc.
"There's always added pressure," he admits, "but you just have to work harder. I wouldn't say I was nervous. I was just motivated to work harder and try to beat 'Tailgates and Tanlines.' At the end of the day, if it does better, it does better, if not, I've still got wonderful loyal fans out there that are going to be excited about hearing new music."