Luke Bryan’s past year has been met with recognition and praise earning the Georgia native the Academy of Country Music’s ‘Entertainer of the Year’ Award.  His new album Crash My Party is the follow-up to the stunning Double Platinum tailgates & tanlines, which has sold over 9 million copies to date. The new album also rides on the coattail of the country crooner’s Spring Break series — Spring Break…Here To Party, which claimed the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and is certified Gold.

The playfulness on the album scurries between loose forming country jingles and dangling romance proclamations. Bryan’s prose has a moxie full of detailed feelings about rural stories nailed from experience and coming-of-age.

The stories house youthful slivers of time, leaning the fickle minded towards the humble hearted. Songs like “Goodbye Girl”, “Roller Coaster” and “Blood Brothers” strike chords of sentimental value, hugging the longer breaths that form picturesque merry-go-rounds of life. Then comes the fired up-tempo tunes like titled track, “Crash My Party” and the catchy love loop of “Play It Again.”

“Goodbye Girl is about that girl that blows your air strings, the one you long for and you know she wants you too, but it’s that whole push and wind, and the moments that stick. Caroline, my wife, was a ‘Goodbye Girl’,” explains Luke.

The album paints a canvas of visually connective story strokes using references to iced tea, rain dances, whiskey, tractors, dirt roads, parking lots and beer, among others. These narratives feature a mélange of sweeping guitar progressions that don’t stark-stun your face, but rather coax your gut and form rollicking rhythms balled around Bryan’s vocal masculinity.  Songs like “I See You,” touch on the clutch of trying to forget the person who is no longer part of your life, the mixed emotions and pictorials that become that puzzle that doesn’t seem to fit.

This breakup paradox is again heard on “Better Than My Heart” (available on the Deluxe Version), which comes with lyrics like, “…these cigarette eyes are about to burn out, but they’re still doing better, better than my heart / these whiskey worn lips can’t muster up a smile, the soles on my boots have walked their last mile, but they’re still doing better, better than my heart.

You get a sense of a man that knows what a party means, but understands the distortion the party can bring. Like Bryan’s other albums, Crash My Party was produced by Jeff Stevens and this relationship has made for an honest relay of music.

“Friends and family and the special people in my life are the whole enjoyment for me, I don’t want to make it like chess pieces moving around for my own personal gain, by doing that I’m eliminating my happiness.”

“I get a real enjoyment in making music with people, working with people, and once you’ve lost that desire and perhaps succumb to the money then it makes it not the same value, not the same feeling — that’s why I like working with those that share that same vision and can relate.”

Luke Bryan was up against some serious talent in the category of ACM’s ‘Entertainer of the Year’, an award that often is granted to artists that have been fueling the audiences for years with countless accolades under their belt. This year he faced off against the likes of Taylor Swift and his co-host for the ACM’s, Blake Shelton. However, the win didn’t change the chemistry both Shelton and Bryan had while hosting the event.

“I wouldn’t say I was nervous hosting the ACM’s, in the moment it was exhilarating, I wanted to not just do a good job, but a great job and once I got into stride it was more comfortable for me and when I felt that people were reacting well it calmed my nerves for sure. We had a lot of fun, seriously.”

Another nominee in the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ award was Bryan’s best buddy, Jason Aldean — the same dude he bought a 1976 Bronco for. Yup, a Bronco.

“I have a Bronco and Jason used to and has always really liked it and for an end-of-tour present last year he got me a really big gift so I wanted to reciprocate, this gift felt like the right fit.”

Regardless of the gifts, awards or massive attention, Bryan speaks with modesty and appreciation of those around him.

“I love playing my music to people before it’s out, I love hearing what others think and just sitting around with those I love  — that’s where my music comes from and their opinions are important to me.”

“I feel I have more of a backbone now with this album, I’m more humble and more at peace too. Now my goal, truly, for the rest of my life is to enjoy my music and the people around me and try not to keep up to milestones, I’ve achieved everything I’ve dreamed of and on my terms, so that’s something I won’t take for granted.”

A last mention on the album is “Dirt Road Diary”, which is a closer look at Bryan’s own journal and he co-wrote it with fellow Georgians Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins. It’s that song that acts a soundtrack to those aimless drives on small town roads and shows more of why the country star has a real sense of commonality and humane likeability.

Quick Fix

Musical influences: “Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, there are a ton.”

Favourite meal: “Steak, turnip, green peas, cornbread, mashed potatoes, sweet tea  — the works. Oh and the best is dipping salt country ham into grits!”

Are you always planning for the next step? “Sometimes I find my mind is always racing, I’m always kind of scheming, running ideas in my brain  — I guess that’s the nature of the beast you know? It’s like a deer stand and what’s the next move.”

Buy Crash My Party here