OFFSTAGE: Luke Bryan’s Apology Wasn’t Necessary

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

This is a textbook case of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t. If Luke Bryan hadn’t written a few of the lyrics on his hand before singing the national anthem at Tuesday night’s (July 10) MLB All-Star game — and, God forbid, had messed up the song — America would have crucified him. But he did, so now he’s being crucified anyway? For what? Caring enough to be adamant about doing the song justice? For the life of me, I cannot imagine why this has become a national news story.

I remember interviewing Martina McBride right before she sang the national anthem at this year’s Indianapolis 500. “I always have the words where I can see them. After being so scared so many times and feeling like I just wanted to throw up, I thought, ‘This is ridiculous.’ I mean, why put yourself through that? I don’t care what it takes. If you have to have someone with cue cards in front of me, or whatever, I have to see those words,” she told me. “It’s just too big of a thing to take a chance. It’s not a game. It’s important. There’s a reverence that should be had when you sing it. I mean, we’ve all known this song since kindergarten, but there’s something that happens when you get in front of a bunch of people. There’s a weird place your mind goes. You can go into panic mode.”

Byran has since tried to explain himself on Twitter , writing, “If I offended anyone with my approach, I sincerely apologize. Anytime I sing the anthem it is an honor, and my heart beats out of my chest. I had a few key words written down to insure myself that I wouldn’t mess up. I just wanted to do my best. I promise it was from the heart.”

I don’t think he should be apologizing for doing whatever it took to get the job done. And he got the job done very well, I might add. I wonder how Bryan’s critics would sound if they were singing in front of a crowd of thousands. To them, I’d say, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.