Now that Luke Bryan’s latest album What Makes You Country is out, and his fans have been living with the new music for a few days, it’s pretty obvious that this one is countrier than most. And it sounds like that was Bryan’s intention his sixth time around.
In a new Esquire video, Bryan calls the new album a throwback back to his roots, and overall, more country. And he also talks about how he looks at the process of songwriting.
“You just want to write songs that are true and real to your life that your fans will truly relate to and believe. I love trying to find those diamonds in the rough, and try to lean on the songwriting community,” Bryan says. “It’s also fun to sit in the room and put my stamp on things. You try to up the ante, too.
You try to become a better writer through all that. You just get in there and make it happen, feel the vibe, and hopefully, you arrive at something you’re proud of.”
The best example of Bryan upping that ante is on the ballad “Land of a Million Songs.” He wrote the song with the father and son hit machine of Jeff and Jody Stevens. It’s the story of the struggle to make it in Nashville when it looks like the making it will never happen. How you’re always searching for a little something different to say. And that when lightning strikes at the end of a pen, then all the leaving and losing will all be worth the fight.
Bryan started his Nashville career by songwriting, first for other artists and then for himself. In fact, he wrote the majority of songs on his first few albums and only included a handful of outside cuts. Then he started leaning more on Nashville songwriters.
But with this album, it feels like maybe he’s going back to his writing roots. Maybe what makes him country is when he’s holding the pen that’s making lightning strike.