Luke Combs Heading Back to Boone to Play Alma Mater

We Have App State and Eric Church to Thank for Combs' Love of Country

Appalachian State University didn’t just give Luke Combs a college education. It’s the place where he learned to love country music again.

And for the first time, Combs is going to play a stadium show at the university’s Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, NC on May 2. He says he is humbled to play a place that means so much to him.

In one of my last interviews with Combs, he told me that as a teenager he had fallen out of love with the country his parents were listening to at the time, and it wasn’t until college that he rediscovered the good stuff. Namely, Eric Church.

“A buddy of mine brought (Church’s) album up to my dorm room. And I was like, ’Man. You know I’m not down with country right now.’ And he was like, ’But this guy went to school here.’ So I listened to Carolina from 2009, and I fell in love.

“Then I went and bought his older one, Sinners Like Me. I got obsessed with the songwriting and the artistry of everything he’d done.” (Church had graduated from App State in 2000 with a business degree.)

But Combs didn’t stop there. Finding Church, he told me, led him to dive back in to everything he had missed.

“I had this entire vault of the decade of music that I could listen to that was out when I was between 8 and 18. Listening to all the stuff that I let fall through the cracks because I had stereotyped one thing? I felt guilty about that for a while.

“But I was always jamming with that, and people were like, ’Why are you listening to this? It came out ten years ago.’ And I was like, ’I know, but I just heard it last week, and these songs rock.'”

Ashley McBryde and Drew Parker will join him on this North Carolina tour stop.

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