The first song I heard from Luke Bryan wasn’t one he cut.
It was Travis Tritt’s “Honky-Tonk History,” off Tritt’s 2004 album My Honky Tonk History. Then there was Billy Currington’s hit song, “Good Directions.” That one was released almost exactly ten years ago.
About a year later, Bryan put “Good Directions” on his debut album I’ll Stay Me as a bonus track. On that album, he wrote all but one of the tracks.
So Bryan’s songwriting chops were obvious right out of the gate.
But now that he’s in the thick of a very big career, Bryan told me he isn’t so determined to write on every track on every album.
“It’s good to not feel the pressure that I’ve got to write a career song every time I sit down to write,” Bryan told me when he was in Chicago recently. “It’s tough to outdo what I’ve done. I don’t even know if I can do that. But it’s up to me to try to stay who I am.”
He admitted that he’s blessed to have great songs sent his way these days, but he still has song ideas all the time, even on stage.
“Right now I’ve got tons of notes on my phone,” he said. “I’ll be in the middle of a show, and get an idea, and when one of my guys runs out on stage, I’ll ask them to write it down.”
What he doesn’t do much anymore, is go into a session refusing to come out without a pile of hits.
“I used to go in and write, write, write,” he added. “I certainly don’t do that anymore, where I’d pound out six or seven songs a week like I used to do ten years ago.”
“But these days, when I get a really, really great idea, I’m able to really see it through.”