Luke Bryan Was Hungry to Perform

By now, there’s very little about Luke Bryan we don’t already know. When you get to that superstar level, it seems like everybody knows your life story and/or your backstory. But when Parade magazine went with him to his tiny hometown of Leesburg, Ga., population 2,800, they unearthed some things I hadn’t heard before.

Like the fact that Bryan was in his high school’s production of Annie Get Your Gun. He played Frank Butler, the womanizing sharpshooter who falls in love with Annie Oakley. I’d pay a lot of money to hear Bryan reprise his part from “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

Bryan’s high school theater director told Parade, “This was a kid who was hungry for opportunities to perform, and he took every opportunity that he could.”

According to the school’s principal, Bryan was a very memorable kid even before he became famous.

“He’s never lost that hometown allure,” he says.

Other fun new facts about Bryan’s upbringing include his love of Michael Jackson.

Thriller was my first cassette that was like currency,” he recalls. “At school I could moonwalk all the way to the pencil sharpener and back.”

And he said he and his friends would break dance in the schoolyard.

In the video tour of the town, Bryan admits he doesn’t get back to Leesburg as much as he’d like. Only about once a year, in fact.

“It’s a busy life I’m all wrapped up in now,” he said. But coming back when he can means he gets to see his late sister Kelly’s kids.

“My sister was drink-a-few-beers-on-the-back-porch perfect,” Bryan said of how his “Drink a Beer” song was, in part, a tribute to her.

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