I first remember meeting Luke Bryan during a radio station tour visit back in late 2006/early 2007 when The Wolf was but a small, un-weaned pup. He sat less than 10' from me telling us about himself and sang songs from his first as yet-to-be released album. After he finished singing "All My Friends" for all of us, I looked over to the Music Director at the time and mouthed "are we playing him?" He lowered his eyebrows in a semi-scowl and shook his head, emphatically, no. That decision has to rank right up there with the Babe Ruth trade as one of the biggest boneheaded moves of the century. Luke Bryan was destined to be a star and those of us in that room all knew it was going to happen. With the release of his fourth record Crash My Party, he will be skyrocketing to uber-stardom!
Mr. Bryan has stated that this new album is better than his last record, Tailgates & Tanlines (T&T). Please note that the strength of that record brought him the coveted ACM Entertainer of the Year award for 2013. If he believes this record is better than T&T, then I would dust off the shelf where that first award is standing; its twin will be arriving in the spring. T&T was also nominated for Album of the Year. Crash My Party will be nominated as well and if I may be so bold, just give him the award now. After listening all afternoon, I am of the firm and un-wavering belief that Mr. Bryan is 100% correct in his assertion. Crash My Party is THAT good of a record. Mr. Bryan just makes country music look easy! He tells the stories with an un-assuimng, honest, matter-of-fact quality; it feels like he just lived those songs yesterday or last night or last month. The spiritual and personal connection he has with the material is uncanny and the cornerstone of his tremendous...and continued...success. Mr. Bryan lives and breathes this music and brings such a conversational quality in its presentation. Mr. Bryan is also a romantic at heart. Yes, men, he is THAT guy; handsome AND romantic. Guys like him will ALWAYS get the girl over you and I. Damn it!
Crash My Party offers us tracks written by some of the best songwriting names in country music today; Ashley Gorley, Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins just to name a few. Mr. Bryan is credited with co-writing two of the albums thirteen tracks. The production values of the band blend superbly with the vocals. The musicianship is tremendous and the playing is top notch. The usual subjects of country music here; love, love lost, partying and loss. Mr. Bryan just pulls you into the story and the next thing you know, you are standing there right next to him as he paints the picture. All thirteen of these tracks are radio ready for me; Program Director's across the world are going to lose sleep at night with this record. ALL are well-written with great hooks and melodies that will leave you humming them all day long. My favorites are too may to mention but: "Roller Coaster" (the visuals are so real and true), "We Run This Town" (For anyone who grew up in a small town), "Drink A Beer" (note to my friends and family, THIS says it all and MUST be adhered to when I leave this earth), "Play it Again" (anyone who has sat by a radio waiting for THAT song), "Blood Brothers" (Camraderie and loyalty cannot be measured) and finally "Dirt Road Diary." (Here Mr. Bryan is at his most honest and you know he is just one of the best guys in the world. GREAT SONG!)
Whew. That was a lot of words to say that Crash My Party is ONE. GREAT. ALBUM! Luke Bryan continues his ascension to becoming one of the "great ones" of country music. We all knew that when we sat around that room a few years ago; none of us wanted him to stop playing or leave. Per usual, singer-songwriters put it best with their words. Mr. Bryan does just that in the liner notes of this record. "Dallas Davidson, thanks for helping me put our hometown way of life into words..." That sums the entirety of Luke Bryan. I have apretty good feeling that he would not mind one bit if we all crashed his party in hometown Leesburg, Georgia. I have a feeling the music would be blasting, the food plentiful and the dixie cups overflowing!