OFFSTAGE: Luke Bryan: “Savvyish” Host of CMA Music Festival Show

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

For three hours next Monday night (Sept. 17), you get country, country and more country. Because that’s the night the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special airs on ABC. So if you went to the festival and want to relive it — or you didn’t go and want to feel like you did — this if your night to rock. And Luke Bryan and The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry are hosting.

I asked Bryan what this gig was like after so many gigs where he was just the singer — not the master of ceremonies. He promised me he was “savvyish” as a host. And that the snippets of fun he had along the way — up-close-and-personal interviews with Faith Hill, Hunter Hayes and Lady Antebellum — were his favorite parts. “When you’re doing the interviewing, you want to have fun with the artists,” he said. “So when Faith came in, I asked her if she was wearing her own perfume. Stuff like that.”

Bryan, I think, is such a good fit for this show because he knows exactly what this festival is like for the fans. “I’d gone to these shows many, many times as a fan. I was out in the parking lot of LP Field, just tailgating and drinking beer. I loved to be all up in the mix,” Bryan told me. “And the longer I can still stay a fan in this deal, the better. I wanna hold onto that feeling as long as I can.”

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