Many people believe that if you’re going to write songs, you need to do some living first. Luke Laird isn’t going to be the one to prove them wrong. He has penned chart-topping hits for some of the biggest names in the business. The list of folks who have cut Laird’s songs proves how versatile of a songwriter he really is. Eric Church, Carrie Underwood, Lady A, and Kacey Musgraves have all recorded his tunes. If that doesn’t show you how versatile is, we can go a step further. Ne-Yo and John Legend are also among those who have songs with Luke Laird’s name in the writing credits. That’s just scratching the surface. Needless to say, he has done some serious living in his forty-two years on this old ball of dirt.
In the latest episode of The Road You Leave Behind with Marty Smith, Luke Laird told an epic story from his college days. Kix Brooks, yes, that Kix Brooks, almost knocked Laird out with a guitar. On top of that, he did it on stage! I don’t know what story you’re building in your head right now. But, I assure you, the story he told Marty Smith is way cooler. Let’s take a look.
That Time Kix Brooks Almost Knocked Luke Laird Out with a Guitar
Luke Laird has had one heck of a life. He is full of some of the coolest stories in the business. At the same time, he knows how to hook you right off the bat.
“When I was in college, I dated Ronnie Dunn‘s daughter,” Luke Laird says, kicking off the story. He pauses to say that they still get along. Then, he goes on to say that Ronnie was pretty fond of him while the two were together.
The story starts during the summer before Luke Laird got out of college. He was working as a valet at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. He said it was an alright gig. However, he wasn’t making enough money. After he put gas in his truck and took a trip to the record store, his wages were gone. Ronnie Dunn changed that for him.
The next summer, Luke Laird recalls, Ronnie Dunn approached him and asked if he had a job for the summer. Laird said that he planned on going back to parking cars. It was decent money and he knew the ropes. Dunn, on the other hand, had different plans. The country icon asked Luke, “Why don’t you come out on the road with us?” He couldn’t turn that down.
Laird Hits the Road
Luke Laird had no idea what he was doing. However, he buckled down and did whatever needed to be done. That first day, all he knew was that he needed to find the tour manager, Scott Edwards. Pretty soon, he was Scott’s right-hand man. During that tour, Laird ended up doing just about everything but perform. He ran the merch booth, carried equipment, and whatever else came his way.
At one point, the regular guitar tech had a death in his family and had to leave for a weekend. The band and tour manager were discussing their options. On one hand, they could fly someone out to fill in. On the other hand, they wouldn’t know the show. Luke Laird, however, knew the show. He had been there every night.
So, they asked if he wanted the spot. So, of course, he stepped up.
In theory. It’s a simple job. Between songs, the lights would go down. Luke Laird would come out on stage, bring out instruments, swap them out, and go backstage again. However, simple doesn’t mean easy. He had to take guitars to Kix Brooks as well as the other guitarists in the band. He was a little nervous.
So, at one point he was supposed to bring Kix his mandolin. Then, Luke Laird said, “I’m trying to kind of get a jump start on it. So, right as those lights go down, I’m running out there and Kix does one of his big swings and hits me right in the head [with his guitar]. I’m bleeding and I’m stumbling, trying not to pass out on stage before the lights come back on.”
His final takeaway on the whole experience? “That gig was so fun, man.”