By all accounts, Luke Bryan is having a fantastic year. From winning the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year this past spring, to headlining his own national tour (dubbed Dirt Road Diaries) for the first time, to seeing his 2011 album Tailgates & Tanlines go double platinum, it was a new level of success for a guy who’s already among the most popular in country music today.
“I’ve been lucky in this business to have each year be the year of my life,” Bryan told Radio.com.
Now comes Crash My Party, Bryan’s fourth full-length studio album. The 13-song collection (see the lyrics) was only released this week (Aug. 13), but already it’s pushing the Georgia-born singer’s career to new heights, thanks in good part to the chart success of the title track, as well as the growing popularity of the album’s second single, “That’s My Kinda Night.”
Radio.com spoke with Bryan about picking songs for Crash My Party, singing with a “different mentality,” and where he’s at with his career.
Radio.com: Can you talk about songs on Crash My Party that musically reflect new directions, or a new side of you?
Luke Bryan: I feel like there are songs for everybody on the album, from your hardcore country people to your really contemporary country people. There’s a song called “Drink A Beer,” I describe it as the coolest sad song I’ve ever recorded. And then there’s a song called “Goodbye Girl,” where I’m singing [with] a different mentality. I think it’s a new side of me. And I’ve got a song called “Blood Brothers that has some really, really neat percussion. The songs, they all do certain little things.
What was challenging about the song “Goodbye Girl” in particular?
I’ve always come out guns blazing with my voice. And this one, I had to really lay it back and be much more tender, and that was just new ground for me. It was fun going there and showcasing that side of my voice that people may have never heard.
And what was it about “Drink A Beer” that first grabbed you?
I just thought it was an amazingly written song. It was something that everybody can connect with because so many people out there have lost somebody. And their connection with them was, they used to have a beer in a bar with them, or have a beer anywhere with them. Drinking a beer with a friend is a huge connection, and that song bridges all those emotions together. Like I said, it’s one of the coolest sad songs I’ve ever heard.
Chris Stapleton was one of the writers on “Drink A Beer.” Have you recorded any of his songs before?
No I have not. I’m a huge Stapleton fan. I’ve always been a huge fan of his voice and his writing, so I was excited to get to get the opportunity do that. And then obviously to have him sing backgrounds with me was pretty awesome, too.
When you put songs together for an album, do you consciously attempt to create a balance of moods among the song choices?
Well yeah, you don’t want to load an album up with too much of the same subject matter. You want to [include] something for everybody. I try to make my albums something that everybody can gravitate to and love a song on it. The main thing for me is just do a well-rounded album that showcases me as an artist, and showcases me as a songwriter, and Nashville as a songwriting town. I want my personality to shine through in the music, and that’s what I try to do on my albums.