Last week, the RIAA issued double-platinum certification for Luke Bryan's Crash My Party. Not bad for a guy who got his start singing for a "bunch of drunks."
When Bryan and his songwriters recently got together in Nashville to celebrate his latest string of four No. 1 songs, there was a surprise waiting for him. To commemorate the day and his accomplishments, Bryan's manager had a very special gift for him.
It was the very distressed, very faded gigantic wooden sign from the little Georgia bar -- Skinner Brothers -- that built him. The bar has since closed down, and the sign looks like it had heralded its specialty -- "Lunch Served Daily" -- for centuries.
Bryan was obviously touched by the gesture and took the crowd down memory lane with him with his description of the place.
"There was an old fellow named Charlie Skinner," he said. "And when I was about 16 or 17, Charlie ran just a raunchy old place. Miller Lite, Bud Lite, Budweiser -- those were the beers you could have. Anything you want as long as it was those three.
"It was just an old perfect little dive. My dad and I would ride up on Friday nights, and there'd be some boys just playing 'Old Habits' on the guitar and old Merle (Haggard) songs."
Bryan would later play college frat houses on Wednesday nights, but when the weekend rolled around, he was performing at Skinner Brothers.
"So on Friday nights I'd be sitting at Skinners with a bunch of drunks, and I'd be playing 'Old Habits,'" he said of the old Hank Williams Jr. song he covered in those early years.
"They closed it up," Bryan said of the bar. "But we might have to open it back up now."