Luke Bryan: CMT Hot 20 Countdown Interview

Georgia Native Loves the Life and Responsibilities on the Road

Despite calling it the Dirt Road Diaries tour, Luke Bryan isn’t keeping a journal of his travels on the road with Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line.

“I don’t keep diaries anymore,” the Georgia native recently joked to CMT Hot 20 Countdown ’s Katie Cook. “They’re quite incriminating. I just keep all the dirt road diaries in my head.”

The tour began in January and is currently scheduled to continue through October. The name comes from “Dirt Road Diary,” a track featured on his new album, Crash My Party, set for release Aug. 13.

“I wrote it with the Peach Picker guys [songwriters Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins],” Bryan said. “It’s just a song that really comes from my heart and where I grew up, and we were excited that we could name the tour after a song.”

As his career grows, the Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year is also assuming more responsibilities as a businessman during his headlining tour.

“It’s fun to have this role — to know that all the 40-50 people that work for me have families that are counting on this,” he said. “So it’s obviously a lot of pressure, but I love that we’re all a big family out here, and a crew guy will come up and go, ’Man we just had our baby.'”

Bryan says it’s a good kind of pressure to have.

“I guess just kinda the pressure you put on yourself — kinda internally and going around making sure everybody is happy and having fun — that’s really the only pressure,” he said. “Then when tickets go on sale for new shows and you see them start selling, you’re like, ’Woo!’ It’s been fun seeing the ticket sales and obviously seeing the fans just pack in these places. We were doing arenas … but now it’s summer. We’re in the amphitheaters, and everybody’s partying.”

Bryan says he hopes his employees view him as a good boss.

“I mean, I care about how everybody’s doing, their feelings,” he said. “We have monthly get-togethers and make sure everything’s running smoothly. There are a lot of personalities out here, and I sort of respect everybody for what they are, where they’re from. … I’ve always given people a lot of strikes. People make mistakes. You can’t be perfect out here on the road. So if somebody makes a mistake, it’s no big deal. We just kinda laugh at it. It’s just the road. You can’t be perfect every night out here.”

The ACM win hasn’t affected the way Bryan approaches his performances.

“I’d still be be doing this whole deal the same way,” he said. “Now I can go out there and just thank them personally for making me entertainer of the year. My main thing is I’m gonna go out there every night and give it all I got and just try to put on the best show I can. That’s just the way I’m programmed and wired.”

Although Bryan has a reputation for being an energetic presence onstage, he laughs at the notion of being some sort of sex symbol.

“Oh, well, you know,” he said. “It’s fun watching people have fun. So if me shaking it and being just loosened up and not worrying about anything, if that makes people have fun, I will do it probably more than I need to.”