Luke Bryan's shooting stardom has him set to play Heinz Field
During the past seven years, Luke Bryan has risen from a one-hit performer at Saddle Ridge for a crowd of a few hundred to headlining a show for more than 50,000 on June 21 at Heinz Field — a feat that only Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift have pulled off among country singers visiting Pittsburgh.
Bryan's rise to superstardom and Heinz Field status didn't happen gradually in equal steps, country industry observers say. Bryan had a few hits during the first few years of his career, but his fame really boomed in the past two years, starting with his opening for Jason Aldean in 2012.
Almost overnight, Bryan became one of the top-selling country artists and began headlining big shows last year. And Heinz Field is bigger than big: Most larger concerts in the Pittsburgh area are at Burgettstown's First Niagara Pavilion, which has a maximum capacity of about 23,000 fans.
“The fact that he's graduated up to stadiums at that level just shows how big a star he's become,” says Michael McCall, an editor and writer for publications at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
“There's a momentum you get when you get several big songs,” McCall says. “You put on a show that has people standing on their feet, singing along, clapping and dancing.”
Jeremy Mulder, a disc jockey with the regional Froggy country radio stations, recalls Bryan's Saddle Ridge show at Station Square. Bryan, a newcomer at the time, had one hit — his debut single, “All My Friends Say,” which reached No. 5 on the Billboard country chart.
Mulder and McCall acknowledge that Bryan's big boom that made him a major-concert headliner came with his platinum third album, “Tailgates & Tanlines,” and his signature song “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).”
That song is “such an anthem and country song,” McCall says.
For the past few years, Mulder says, Bryan has produced “great song after great song.”
Bryan has been working for this success for a long time, Mulder says, and enjoyed paying his dues rather than seeking instant fame.
Contributing to Bryan's fame and success surely are his looks, which earned him People Country's Sexiest Man 2014 designation. At least, that's part of his appeal to many female fans, along with his musical talents, says Mulder, whose on-air moniker is Danger Frog. “Lets face it: He started wearing his jeans tighter,” Mulder says.
McCall says that despite Bryan's attractiveness, he comes across as down-to-earth and humble, with an “Aw, shucks” way about him.
“He has fun with it in a nonthreatening way,” McCall says. “Luke doesn't have a bad-boy edge.”
Kellie B. Gormly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7824.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bluegrass jam sessions bring out all types of musicians, fans
- Review: ‘Mockingjay Part 1’ soundtrack leaves listeners sated
- Jane Monheit swings in tribute to Judy Garland
- Singer-songwriter Janis Ian takes pride in honesty of work
- Monheit brings the magic of Judy Garland to Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild
- ‘Music for the Spirit’ concerts among PSO director Honeck’s season favorites
- Foo Fighters tour coming Aug. 25 to First Niagara Pavilion
- Symphony’s ‘Music for the Spirit’ uplifts and exhilarates