Luke Combs is one of the biggest names in country music today. Fans eagerly devour everything he releases. Currently, Combs has launched eleven singles to the top of Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. He also has two singles that are well on their way to the top. “Cold As You,” sits at number 16. “Cold Beer Calling My Name,” by Jameson Rodgers featuring Combs sits at number 8. His albums are just as successful as the singles that he pulls from them. In short, Luke is at the beginning of a legendary career.
However, no artist creates in a vacuum. It doesn’t matter if they’re sculpting, painting, or playing music, every artist has an influence. Recently, Luke Combs tweeted about the albums from the past decade that he has listened to the most. One could assume that Combs’ creative process has been, in some way, shaped by these albums.
Luke Combs included some heavy hitters on that list. Among those were releases from some of his contemporaries like Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings, Eric Church’s Mr. Misunderstood, and Kip Moore’s Wild Ones. Additionally, Combs listed Jon Pardi’s California Sunrise, Sturgill Simpson’s High Top Mountain, and Chris Stapleton’s Traveller. Now, that’s one heck of a list.
Luke Combs on Chris Stapleton
It doesn’t come as a surprise to see Chris Stapleton’s name come up in a conversation about great country music. He has written and cut some of the best songs the genre has seen in years. At the same time, he is an outlier of the Nashville system. Stapleton strums to the beat of his own rhythm section and those who “get it” follow along. Luke Combs is one of the many fans who “get it.”
In fact, Luke Combs said that Stapleton helped to pave the way for his career. During his recent appearance on The Marty Smith Podcast, Combs opened up about how much he believes he owes to the former Steeldrivers vocalist.
During the interview, Marty Smith asked Luke Combs about how aesthetics affected his career. Combs doesn’t fit the previous pretty-boy mold of many Nashville stars. He gave Stapleton credit for “kicking the door open,” for artists who didn’t fit that mold. In Combs’ eyes, Chris Stapleton proved that, given the opportunity, a singer could breakthrough to star status on the basis of talent alone.
Combs clarified, “Not that Stapleton’s a bad-looking dude, that’s not what we’re talking about here.” However, it’s hard to deny that Stapleton and Combs both lie outside the image that many labels wanted to put front and center on stages and album covers.
Luke Combs said that Chris Stapleton was the artist that made Nashville “snap out of it,” and look at artists who didn’t fit the established aesthetic mold.