Luke Bryan: First Song From the Piano Bench

Ink Has Faded, But It Was the Groundwork

Now that the Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary exhibit is open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville you can see everything that made Bryan who he is today. Or everything his mom could dig up that made him who he is today, from his second grade jean jacket to his handwritten lyrics for his hit song “I See You.”

But it’s what Bryan told reporters at a press event before the exhibit opened that was the most revealing.

Bryan told the story of taking a Greyhound bus ride when he was 14 and listening to Garth Brooks and Clint Black cassettes on his Walkman the whole way.

And then one about the first song he ever penned.

“We found the very first song I wrote and performed for my church called ’The Day He Turned Me Around,’” Bryan recalled. “It was a Christian song we found in my piano bench. I remember being onstage, putting it on the pulpit and being really nervous to sing it in front of my family in the audience. You don’t realize at the time what you’re laying the groundwork for.”

This vintage Bryan tune isn’t perfect, though.

“Since then, something has spilled on the lyrics, and you can’t see half of them as the ink has faded over time,” he said. “That was probably when I was around 15 years old, and it’s neat to see that piece of paper again.”

I don’t think Bryan ever recorded that one, but if he did, I’d love to hear what came before his first cuts as an official Nashville songwriter: Travis Tritt’s 2004 “Honky-Tonk History” and Billy Currington’s 2006 “Good Directions.”

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