Luke Bryan Reflects on the Catapulting Success of “Country Girl”

Luke Bryan has been a mainstay in country music for more than a decade and there’s one hit in particular that altered the course of his career. Bryan had already had a handful of hits before “Country Girl” came along in 2011, with “All My Friends Say,” “Do I,” “Rain is a Good Thing,” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby” all reaching the Top 5 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Though “Country Girl” didn’t reach No. 1 (it peaked at No. 4 on the Country Airplay chart), Bryan knew he’d crossed a threshold when the song got the most radio adds of his career at that point.

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“After all the work to get to that point, I remember sitting on the floor, my wife and I, and we were crying about it,” he recalls to American Songwriter and other media at a press conference before hosting the 2023 CMA Awards. “It was a big day and it felt like everything was starting to really work.”

[RELATED: Luke Bryan Celebrates 30 No. 1 Hits: “It’s Hard to Wrap Your Head Around”]

“Country Girl” was the lead single from Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines album and his first to reach the Top 30 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, catapulting him into superstardom. Since “County Girl” was released, nearly all of Bryan’s singles have hit No. 1 on the country charts, including follow-up singles “I Don’t Want This Night to End” and “Drunk on You.” The Georgia native says that the success of the songs solidified his place in the genre and set him up for longevity. Bryan now has 30 No. 1 hits on country radio, the latest being “Country On” from his 2022 album, Prayin’ in a Deer Stand.

“All I ever wanted was to know that I could do this for the rest of my life, and you never know that until you really feel that. When I had that moment happen, I was like, ‘I think I’m gonna do this the rest of my life. I don’t have to move back to Georgia and work at my dad’s peanut mill,'” he expresses. “To get to 30, you can’t predict that. You can only work to get to little goals. But to get to 30 is far beyond what I expected of myself. It’s a big deal.”

The superstar performed a medley of his 30 No. 1 hits at the 2023 CMA Awards where he co-hosted the show with Peyton Manning for the second year in a row.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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