Luke Bryan knows that some people credit him with starting, or at least promoting, the bro-country movement in country music, and that the association isn't said with praise or admiration. He just doesn't necessarily care what they think.
"Certainly, I've caught flack for my styles of country," Bryan admits to Billboard. "When I read something negative about myself, it kind of gets me down. But the true traditionalists, they'll always bark. I mean, everybody wants hair metal back. Everybody wants the '70s back, and it just doesn't work that way. It's not coming back."
His latest hit, "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset," is the second single from Bryan's 2017 What Makes You Country album. Written by Ryan Hurd, Zach Crowell and Chase McGill, the summer tune, which says, "Sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat / Moonlight, all night, crashing into me /Nothing will ever be easy as you and me / Tangled up with nowhere to be / Just sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat," is the follow-up to Bryan's No. 1 "Most People are Good," and a chance for the 41-year-old to return to his fun side – even though he knows that means opening himself up to more criticism in the process.
"I have enough intelligence to know I have to move the needle from singing about trucks and back roads and fishing," says Bryan. "Eight years ago, I would've never dreamed to put a song on my album that talks about fatherhood."
Still, the country star, who included a song called "Pick It Up" about setting a good example for his children on his latest record, is willing to evolve and not be that guy anymore – at least not all the time. But he won't deny that he was at least part of the evolution into bro-country, even though he never imagined how popular that style of music would become.
"When I started singing about stuff like that, a lot of people saw that it worked, so they incorporated it," says Bryan. "Then sometimes things get beat to death, and then it's time to move on.
"I know that there are more layers to describing the country way of life than a pickup truck and fishing," he continues. "When I'm in a songwriting session with one of my songwriter buddies who's going down the back-road path, can I sing a song about hunting and fishing ever again?"
His answer? "Probably not."0comments
Bryan is getting plenty of chances to perform his warm-weather anthem while he crosses the country on his What Makes You Country Tour, which includes several stadium dates. Find dates at LukeBryan.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/ Rick Kern