About Luke Combs
Country music is like a box, Kenny Rogers once said. The trick is to move outside the dull center of the box, but stay within its confines. Luke Combs mastered that move from the start, mixing versatile songwriting with hard-rock dynamics but always staying true to country’s established values. New artists usually get a cold reception at country radio, but Combs (born in 1990 and raised in North Carolina) barged right through any obstacles. His first single, “Hurricane,” went to No. 1. His second single, “When It Rains It Pours,” went to No. 1. By 2019, Combs was the first country artist in history whose first seven singles went to No. 1, and he was soon headlining arenas.
It seemed like overnight success, but it wasn’t: Combs molded his signature sound—a bold, yearning tenor, Southern rock guitars, hip-hop-imbued beats—and released three independent EPs before a major label signed him. It didn’t hurt that Combs has an Everyman appeal—he looks, he’s said, not like a star, but like a typical country fan. In a sea of styled and coiffed Nashville stars, Combs' unkempt manner is a statement of rural masculinity. But while that’s reflected in his thick, raucous sound, he’s a diverse songwriter—one who can toggle from rowdy and loose to sweet and devoted, funny one minute and sentimental the next. In the ’90s, Garth Brooks gave country music the scope of arena rock, and Combs has effortlessly taken up that mantle a few decades later.
BORNMarch 2, 1990