Luke Combs Is Using His Success to Say Thank You to His Parents
All the hard work that Luke Combs put in for years, playing dive bars and taking trips to Nashville for co-writing sessions, is truly paying off. He's on a roll, fresh off the June release of an EP, The Prequel, a follow-up to 2017's double-platinum This One's for You, his debut disc.
Combs has also extended his headlining Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour, and made history on the Billboard country charts by being the first artist since Johnny Cash in 1959 to have five songs simultaneously in the Hot Country Songs chart's Top 25. In mid-June, he received one of the most coveted invitations in country music: to join the Grand Ole Opry. He reacted with tears, reminding fans that, at the end of the day, he's an everyman who's just grateful to be here.
During CMA Fest 2019, Combs celebrated The Prequel's release with a gathering for some of his biggest fans, affectionately called "Bootleggers," to hear him play through the EP and answer their questions in a Q&A with Rolling Stone's Joseph Hudak. During the event, Combs elaborated on what -- and who -- keeps him grounded: three lessons his parents taught him when he was growing up in North Carolina.
"Just be nice to people is number one. That goes a really, really long way," Combs says. "I think a lot of people forget that. There’s just no reason not to be nice to people, unless they give you a reason to not be nice to them.
"Second off is work hard," Combs continues. "I think three is probably being financially sound, not wasting money. My parents have always been really great at living within their means and not buying anything that they couldn’t afford. I didn’t understand how important that was until I started working. My parents just always told me, 'If you want something and you can’t afford it, just don’t get it.'"
Through his success, Combs has gotten to give back to his mom and dad for all they provided over the years. The country star says being able to help them out has been the most rewarding accomplishment of all.
"They’ve made a lot of sacrifices for me. I was an only child, so I always thought if I screwed up, there wasn’t another kid to be good, so I didn’t really have a choice in that regard," Combs joked.
"I’ve gotten to help them out with some bills they had," he continues, "and my parents and myself didn’t get to travel a lot growing up. I got to take them to a lot of places that they’ve never been and let them experience a lot of things that they’ve never gotten to experience, so that’s definitely been the coolest thing."
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Combs knows the value of hard work and giving back. That's likely what his fans see in him and latch onto, and his big heart is evident when he speaks about how special those fans are to him.
"I think that’s a really interesting thing about our crowd is, this tour at least, it sold out really fast. So I think a lot of people went, 'I live in Seattle, or wherever it may be, and it’s sold out, but there’s still tickets left in Lincoln, Neb., so I’m just gonna fly to Lincoln, Neb.,'" Combs says. "The cool thing for me is knowing that people have sacrificed so much of their own time and their own money just to be there with us and watch us do what we do."
Combs' songs resonate with people for a reason: They're plain good country about heartbreak and cold ones. The fans are Combs' top priority, and that's why he decided to release The Prequel -- perhaps to tide everyone over until something bigger comes out? Combs says he picked the five songs on the EP, which includes his current single "Beer Never Broke My Heart," because they had the biggest response from fans.
"They were just songs that people had kind of heard snippets, [and have] kind of been wondering 'What’s going on with this song?' or 'What is this thing?'" Combs says. "It was just, at the time that we decided these were gonna be the five songs, these were the songs that people had kind of been asking about most."
However, to the excitement of many, Combs hinted at something more during his Q&A: "I just felt like I wanted to put out the songs that people were asking for, and I know there’s some that aren’t on there, which hints that there may or may not be new music coming out later," Combs says. "I guess there’s probably more music coming out later this year. I don’t know. I can’t say."
While there's no official word on the matter of new music, the information seems pretty reliable coming from the man himself. While fans wait for an "official" release -- that is, a new album or another new EP -- Combs has been releasing some unreleased tracks on Twitter.
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