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GRAMMY PREVIEW: LUKE COMBS

The Beautiful Crazy Rise of Luke Combs

By Holly
Gleason

Luke Combs snuck up on country music, with a red solo cup in hand and a throng of fans. He’d hooked those fans long before the Nashville labels clamored to sign the North Carolinian with an uncanny gift for writing songs that were both fun and true to how good ole boys were actually living.

A little bit Ferris Bueller, a little bit John Hughes or Cameron Crowe-style unlikely romantic, he could belly flop into “Beer Never Broke My Heart” or “When it Rains It Pours” just as easily as tug your heart strings with “Even Though I’m Leaving” or celebrate that kind of girl with “Hurricane,” “She Got The Best of Me” or the 2019 CMA Song of the Year, “Beautiful Crazy.”

A proud member of the Grand Ole Opry, Combs is also the 2019 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, singling out the songwriter/superstar as the voice of country music’s future.


What do the Grammys mean to you? Does winning a Grammy hold anything different to you in terms of significance or meaning?
Winning a Grammy would be a dream come true. It’s quite honestly hard to even be thinking of that as a possibility—me, Grammy winner—it just isn’t something I would have ever put together. I would be incredibly humbled if I won a Grammy. It would be one of my greatest honors.

As a genuinely country artist, how do you think you fit in the realm of all-genre Grammy voters? What about your approach or songs do you think they’ll respond to?
I hope they see me as a country artist, because I love country music. But at the core, I hope they see me as a storyteller, a songwriter who writes about real-life things that we all experience. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do for my fans. I want to write real songs that they can relate to and feel the words, so I hope that’s what the voters respond to, too, and that it sticks out to them, because that’s who I’ll always be.

At a time when country hasn’t totally transitioned to streaming, you’re one artist who’s strong there, as well as with more traditional modes of consumption. What is about your music that connects with people?
There are a few things that help, I think, but my fans range all over the board from young to old. The younger generation has bought into streaming, and thankfully, I have a lot of fans in that age bracket. I think my music is a nice mix between old country and modern country, so the younger generation seems to enjoy it, but so does the older crowd, where music purchasing and radio are still more prevalent. We saw the transition to streaming was coming, so we’ve always tried to factor that into our plans. At the end of the day, we try to let my fans know they’re more than welcome to listen to my music however they like—streaming, digital purchasing, CD, vinyl, radio, you name it.

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DODGING BULLETS AND DIVINE PURPOSE
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Radio giant makes a shift. (2/26a)
FREEDOM NOW AND OTHER JAMS, PT. 1
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BLACK HISTORY MONTH
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After the snubs, the show.
ACQUITTED
In a phenomenal display of cowardice.
MOVING THE NEEDLE
When vaccination schedules and touring schedules meet.
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