By Annie Reuter
Luke Bryan out does himself on his latest release What Makes You Country, out December 8. The 15-song project is a versatile one that includes the party songs Bryan is known and loved for as well as the more poignant and introspective ballads that take a look into who we are as people and where Bryan came from.
“My hope for every album is to put songs out that drive people to want to come see the shows and drives people to want to listen to it on the radio and have these songs incorporated in their life,” Bryan tells Radio.com. “I always want to have a roller coaster of emotions through the albums. The sad songs, the love songs, the happy songs, the drinking songs, the party songs.”
Bryan wrote seven of the album’s 15 songs and he gives fans insight into his personal life and musical journey throughout What Makes You Country.
“My main thing is, you just want to write songs that are true and real to your life that your fans will truly relate to and believe,” he explains. “I love scouring the town of Nashville and trying to find those diamonds in the rough, but it’s also fun to sit in the room and put my stamp on things . . . That moment when you’re watching your fans take in an emotional song, a song that’s truly touching them, it’s a pretty powerful moment when you have your fans connecting to you in a sentimental and emotional way like that.”
Tracks like “Pick It Up” and “Land of A Million Songs,” both of which Bryan co-wrote, showcase the singer’s sentimental side while the upbeat “Drinking Again” and “Hooked On It” continue to share his fun, party side.
“I’ve gotten to follow all my dreams and still remain true to who I am as a person,” Bryan explains. “I just try to go in the studio and record music that makes me happy, makes me feel something and makes me emotional at times. Songs that I visualize my crowd reacting to.”
One of those songs is the memorable “Most People Are Good,” where he sings of the important things in life like how kids should stay kids and play outside in the dirt instead of staring at a screen.
“I believe most people are good / And most mamas oughta qualify for sainthood / I believe most Friday nights look better under neon or stadium lights / I believe you love who you love, ain’t nothin’ you should ever be ashamed of / I believe this world ain’t half as bad as it looks,” he sings.
Other highlights are the title track, “What Makes You Country,” which Bryan wrote with Dallas Davidson and Ashley Gorley. A song that paints the picture of his upbringing on a peanut farm in Georgia, Bryan sings, “Just be proud of what makes you country.”
“What makes me country is where I was raised in Leesburg, Georgia. I was brought up with manners and raised with a work ethic that has played an important role to where I am today,” he shares. “I was brought up saying ‘Yes sir,’ ‘No sir,’ ‘Yes, ma’am,’ ‘No, ma’am,’ hopefully with manners and raised with a work ethic and raised in the outdoors fishing and hunting and playing sports. I would say definitely it starts with my small-town upbringing and how we were raised; church on Sundays as much as we could. But just enjoying life and living life in a small town.”
What Makes You Country was produced by Jeff Stevens and Jody Stevens. The album’s lead single “Light It Up,” was written by Bryan and Old Dominion’s Brad Tursi and is the follow up to his 18th career No. 1 single and sixth No. 1 from his Kill The Lights album.