One of country music’s biggest stars displayed an aw-shucks reaction when honored with his own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame last night (May 20).
“Curators: I’m not even sure I knew what that word was, except maybe it was something in Las Vegas,” said Luke Bryan. “But now that I do, I thank you.
“To have such a wonderfully done exhibit is pretty amazing. To see it laid out in front of you is very amazing.”
Bryan was speaking at the preview party for Luke Byran: Dirt Road Diaries. The CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year’s exhibit opens to the public on Friday, May 22.
“Luke Bryan is as country as they come,” said the museum’s Kyle Young. “He grew up on a peanut farm. He sang in the church choir…He loves to fish and hunt.
“He encourages his fans to enjoy themselves. When he hits the stage, he’s the happiest guy in the world. He chooses to celebrate life. The way he finds joy in life is why he is where he is today.”
Luke concurred. “We just wake up every day and figure out how to smile and make other people smile,” he said. “Thank you for letting me having a place in this magical world here in Music City.”
As their remarks suggested, the exhibit emphasizes Luke Bryan’s prowess as an entertainer. Posters, t-shirts, ball caps, guitars, magazine covers, stage props, show clothes and the like are all displayed.
Representing his early life in Leesburg, Ga., are his childhood piano (a Wurlitzer spinet), kindergarten diploma, school backpack, Little League uniform, first guitar and the script from the high-school production of Annie Get Your Gun, in which he co-starred.
Want to know his lifestyle? The exhibit includes his Remington shotgun, bow and arrows (used on the reality TV series Buck Commander), fishing reel and trophy-size mounted bass caught in Brazil. There you have it, plus gowns his wife wore to awards shows and the awards he won at them.
Taking it all in were Mike Dungan, Mike Vaden, Mike Sisted. Charlie Cook, Charlie Monk, Royce Risser, Lisa Lee, Troy Tomlinson, Seab Tuck and Sarah Trahern.
The cocktail hors d’oeuvres featured black-eyed pea salad, candied bacon, crostinis, cheese dip, ham roll-ups, veggies and mini hoe cakes. We schmoozed and vogued in the Hall of Fame rotunda before perusing Luke’s displays.
Luke Bryan has sold nearly seven million albums and had 12 No. 1 country singles. His Crash My Party CD has sold two million units and spawned six consecutive No. 1 smashes. In 2014, more than 1.7 million fans attended his concerts.
Celebrating his accomplishments were such figures as Jeff Stevens, Cindy Mabe, Diane Pearson, Eric Parker, Dave Pomeroy, Vince Santoro, Andrew Kintz, Chris Horsnell, country historian Tony Russell (visiting from London), Kate Richardson, Teresa George, Bob Paxman, Heath Owen, Steve Hodges, Lois Riggins-Ezell, Earle Simmons, Rebecca Walls, Cindy Watts and CMT’s Jennifer Danielson, Jordan Stevens and Jen Morrison.
“I moved here in 2001, just knowing a handful of people,” said Luke. “I just thank you guys for being here….So many amazingly important people in this room have made this happen…I love y’all.”