He lived it. That’s why this new Luke Combs video is so good. Because it comes from his real life experiences, before he signed his record deal and had such a breakout year in country music.
In the video, you see Combs take the tiny stage, in a tiny dive bar, and assess the tiny crowd. There are maybe ten people there. “Thanks to everybody for coming out tonight. It means a lot to us,” he says to the wait staff and a handful of others.
Which is a lot like some of Combs’ earliest gigs in North Carolina. He told me about those shows when we had a long conversation at the end of his game-changing 2018.
“I never played the honky-tonks up and down Broadway, but I did those same kinds of gigs in North Carolina. And those are definitely the humbling experiences you need to have,” he told me. “Anyone who starts out at some kind of heightened level is missing out. You need to feel that whole thing of how hard it is when you’re playing a room, a bar or a restaurant, there’s about 250 people there, and most of them don’t even want to hear you.
“They want you to turn it down. That’s brutal.”
At one such show that Combs played at the 40 Watt in Athens, Georgia, he told me there were only about 80 people there. “I remember the owner telling me not to let it bum me out, and I said, ’It didn’t bum me out. This is cool. Now 80 people know who I am.'”
And that’s why this brand new video is such a masterpiece. Those early shows — much like trucks, dogs, fish, girls, jobs and football — can break your heart. But long neck ice cold beer? That you can always count on.