Luke Bryan feels like he’s on the verge of something big with “Tailgates and Tanlines.”
The Georgia-born singer’s third album comes out Aug. 9 riding the momentum of 2009′s gold-certified “Doin’ My Thing” and its No. 1 country hits “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” as well as a pair of Academy of Country Music Awards and a CMT Music Award. “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” the first single from “Tailgates & Tanlines,” is already Top 10 and certified gold. And anyone who’s seen Bryan opening for Tim McGraw this summer has witnessed a mania that indicates only better things once the album is released.
“It certainly feels like we’re in a spot where we’ve always dreamed of being and wanted to be,” Bryan, who co-wrote eight of the new album’s 13 songs, tells Billboard.com. “You just hope you can seize every moment and make every moment come together, and you hope you have the songs to make it all happen. We’re right where we want to be and we’re happy to be here and certainly loving the fact that the fans are coming on board. We’re just enjoying each moment as they come and having a blast with every opportunity that presents itself.”
“Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” which Bryan describes as “a fun summer song that has really got this album off to a big start,” has certainly provided more than a few moments on tour, as the country girls — and even some boys — in his audience have been shaking in all manners of ways for him.
“It’s fun to see your unexpected characters from time to time, the older ladies that surprise you with wanting to shake it a little bit,” Bryan acknowledges. “The main thing is you see a lot of people out there having a great time and just truly, truly, having a blast and letting their hair down and not worrying about what people are thinking. Me and my co-writer (Dallas Davidson) sat down to write a song that got people up and wanting to dance and have a good time, and that’s what’s turned out to happen.”
As for the rest of “Tailgates and Tanlines,” Bryan says he and producer Jeff Stevens primarily sought out “those magical songs that will put you over the edge at any moment,” sifting through Bryan’s own material and scores of songs submitted by other writers.
“Each time I make an album I always want to get smarter and remember things you did right and remember things you did wrong and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes twice — and have a great time making that album,” Bryan explains. “That’s kind of where we went with this one, and we were certainly proud we were able to put the songs together — some outside songs, and we wrote some songs — that we really stand behind and really feel great about.”
Bryan will be on the road with McGraw into mid-August and then is slated to headline the 10th annual CMT On Tour show this fall with Lee Brice and Josh Thompson. Dates are expected to be announced soon.
“It will be fun,” predicts Bryan, who shot a “CMT Crossroads” episode with the Doobie Brothers this year. “It will be just like what we always do, trying to put on a great live show and work our butts off.” Having toured with the likes of McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts, Bryan adds that he’s looking forward to applying some lessons he’s learned on the road, too. “You watch guys that really know what they’re doing and you watch them thrive and be great and you just try to take notes and see what they’re doing and see how they make it work and apply it to what you do,” he says.