Luke Combs Reflects on Playing Small Shows in His Hometown Before Becoming a Star

by Blake Ells

Sure Luke Combs is selling out stadiums NOW, but the country music titan cut his teeth in clubs just like anyone else. He sold out Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in July with the help of Cody Johnson, Parker McCollum and Morgan Wade. But just before he did, he dropped by Coyote Joe’s in his home state of North Carolina. The Charlotte venue is one of the smaller places that “The Kind of Love We Make” singer regularly played before hitting it big. He even taped one of his earlier music videos at the joint. The performance was recorded for Apple Music and it hit the streamer on Tuesday. He looked back on his time climbing the ranks of the country music industry.

“There’s an intimate nature to it,” Luke Combs told Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music. “You know, it was a few years worth of work to be able to get booked [at Coyote Joe’s]. The house band was always the opener. It was like, if there wasn’t an opener that the headliner was bringing, the opener was always Out of the Blue. It’s still that way here. It’s the same band. So we finally got – I think we got $2,500 and we got Allen [owner of Coyote Joe’s] to agree to let us play. But a night where there’s not a built-in crowd. That’s the idea of the one two three. As a business owner is, Get some people in the door that aren’t coming in the door normally.”

Luke Combs Cut His Teeth at Coyote Joe’s in Charlotte

Luke Combs was starting to see a little radio success with “Hurricane” at the time.

“Seven songs,” he began, reflecting on the catalog he had to offer at the time. “The six that I put out in college and ‘Hurricane.’ There was 2,000. I think 2,000 people came or something. And Allen ended up paying us double, actually, so shout out to Allen.”

He talked about how he looked up to another North Carolinian, Eric Church.

“I was always proud that Eric Church was from here,” he continued. “I think that plays into it probably to some extent. That’s a cool thing. I’ve always found it difficult to accept praise. It’s very scary. Just like not in my nature. I don’t know, it’s tough; I really try to, as much as humanly possible, have open lines of communication with everybody; I don’t ever want to be unapproachable. I don’t want anybody to be like intimidated by me at all.”

Luke Combs keeps bangin’ and twangin’ in support of his latest album throughout the fall. The formal support tour kicks off at Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor with a pair of dates on Labor Day weekend. Check out the full schedule and get ticket information at his website.