Luke Combs Releases Album “Growin’ Up” And We Review It

Thursday Thoughts with the Boots & Whiskey Podcast

Well hot damn, here we are with week two of this series!  Pretty bad ass all the love we got from last weeks blog, so to everyone on last weeks list, thank you again.  Listen, if you weren’t on the list last week and you’re a local, don’t be upset.  There is a TON of solo artists I didn’t put on there I wanted too and could have, but didn’t…I suck…I’m sorry.  Jared Reinert is my biggest regret NOT on that list.  But don’t worry, there will be more lists to come.

Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite artists in the circuit today, Mr. Luke Combs.  Luke put out a new album last Friday, which is his third full length album to date and there have been MANY blogs and comments about this album ‘Growin’ Up’ since then, but this is going to be my take.

I want to start with the first album he put out, so you can understand better my comments on the latest.

His Freshman Full Length Album came in 2017 with ‘This One’s For You’, the songs on this album are undeniable.  This was a sound country music hadn’t heard in quite some time from a kid from North Carolina.  Who the hell was Luke Combs?  Where was he going to go?  What was he going to do?  This album gave us hits like; ‘Hurricane’, ‘When It Rains It Pours’, ‘One Number Away’, oh fuck it.  The whole goddamn album is hit after hit after hit.  Let’s be real there about that.  ‘This One’s For You’, and ‘Lonely One’, are my favorites on this album.  

This album was so damn good, he followed up with a rerelease in 2018 with 5 more tracks on it and they were just as good, if not better than the original album the year before.  Legit, looking over these 5 songs and I can’t think of one that I would skip.  ‘Houston, We Got a Problem’, is by far my favorite in this new listing but they’re all bangers.  The only song on this album that I could never hear again because it was over played is ‘Beautiful Crazy’.  I absolutely love this song, I wanted it to be my wedding song when I first heard it before it was on radio, but now…I skip it every damn time.  

Honestly, if you haven’t listened to this album front to back at least a million times, you have some serious issues or you hate Luke Combs.  

So now that I have totally fawned over ‘This One’s For You’ and the genius that was, let’s talk about his Sophomore album ‘What You See Is What You Get’ released in 2019.  

So, at this point 3 years in a row, we have either a new or added on to album from Luke Combs.

This album had everyone wondering what was next for Luke.  He releases a 17 track follow up to his debut album.  We got some pretty decent songs off this album including the over played ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart’, the very under rated ‘Refrigerator Door’, and of course the song that makes me sob like a fucking child every time I hear it ‘Even Though I’m Leaving’.  This album is solid, don’t get me wrong, but it’s no where near as good as ‘This One’s For You’.  There shouldn’t even be a debate here, but I am sure someone out there likes this better than that.  It’s ok to be wrong, because if you think that then…you are just wrong.  

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid album … solid … doesn’t hold a candle to the first.  

Now…here we are … the latest album ‘Growin’ Up’.  I am sure if you’re reading this, you’re on listen 3.2 million.  So, you’re either going to agree; hate; love; or be indifferent with my take of this album.  

Full 100% transparency I wrote all of the above previous to listening to ‘Growin’ Up’.  I didn’t really listen to any of the singles off this album except for ‘Doin’ This’, and let’s face it, it’s a killer tune.  It’s probably one of the best on this album.  Now, I had listened to the songs that came out but I didn’t LISTEN to the songs if you get what I am saying.  It was a passive listen.  And on knee jerk, I didn’t care much for them.  With what I heard I wasn’t entirely sure how I was feeling about Luke going into this album.  So last Friday, I go to Spotify and I start it.  I listened all the way through.  Then I found myself listening to it again.  It was on this second time through I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.  It isn’t the best out of the three to date, but it’s solid.  

I really enjoy the 90’s Country sound you hear throughout the album.  I was surprised that ‘Any Given Friday Night’ wasn’t chosen to star the album off.  I think it would set a better introduction to it.  It definitely would have fit into how the other albums start.  The longer I write this and the more I listen to these songs to remember what I want to say, this album is actually better than I give it credit for.

The only thing I will say, is that it does sound like a lot of the other Luke Combs songs.  But I guess that makes sense right?  That’s why we love him, cause it’s consistent, we know exactly what we are going to get.  I mean his team, song writers, management etc. is just flat our solid.  

They constantly talk about Morgan Wallen and his friends that write with him including Hardy and Ernest and everyone loses their minds.  They are a great team, but ya know what?  I would take Luke Combs, Ray Fulcher and Drew Parker over the others any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  I know…bring on the hate.  Trust me I love Wallen, Hardy and Ernest.  But there’s something about Comb’s, Fulcher, and Parker that they write and release that “country music” sound.  I enjoy the more country sound, and I am 100% Team Morgan Wallen.  But I’ll let you fall fight that out in the comment section below.

So overall I would give this album a solid 7.5/10.  It has a lot of replay value, it has some songs on here that will blow up for sure.  Once ‘Outrunnin’ Your Memory’, is released to country radio, it will be a number one song.  Luke and Miranda Lambert duet, two powerhouses, two of the top artists in their genre.  Game over folks.  Pack it up, close the door, it’s a number one without even a question.  I am sure there will be a few other number ones on this album, I am just not sure which ones.  

Well, there we have it.  This is my thoughts on this album and all of the albums to date.  I think we will do more album reviews in the future depending on the artist and I think our concert reviews are going to be in blog form as well going forward with short little videos for them.  Let me know what you think!

Cheers ya’ll

Thank you all for reading along and listening to the show.  Check us out on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, iHeart Radio, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter all of the above.  And check out our website at http://www.bootsandwhiskeyentertainment.com

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Country Song of the Year: 2022 Edition

You guys reading this have a major soft side. Although 90% of songs on the radio today are love songs anyway, y’all voted 3 of them out of the 4 total nominees. The first newcomer nominee of the group, Jake Owen, makes his first appearance with “Made For You.” Congrats Jake, we are happy to have you. We also welcome Mrs. Carrie Underwood to the Beats Beer Bonfires nominee family for her duet with Jason Aldean. The other two artists are familiar faces, Luke Combs and Thomas Rhett. Now, for a song to be qualified for the award it had to top either the country airplay chart or the hot country chart in 2021 on billboards website. It then had to stay on top for at least two weeks. This qualifier was tough for artists like Morgan Wallen who had “Wasted on You” top the hot country chart for one week. Eric Church had “Hell of a View” also only peak for one week, as did Chris Young with “Famous Friends.” All three songs are amongst the biggest of last year but don’t make the cut.

So, what does that leave us with you might be asking? Well, we had 13 songs that made the cut and went into the bracket. From 13, we went to four, and they are…

Forever After All
Luke Combs

If I Didn’t Love You
Carrie Underwood
Made For You
Jake Owen
What’s Your Country Song
Thomas Rhett

The winner of this award might surprise you, but it won’t because it’s Luke Combs. I mean, the dudes a fucking living legend. Everything he touches turns to absolute gold. Not only did he have the winning song, but “Better Together” might’ve also made the final four had the two songs not run into each other earlier in the bracket. The question is, has Thomas Rhett surrendered the title of country music love song guy to Luke Combs?

Rhett had “What’s Your Country Song” as a finalist, but that was the only non-love song in the top 4. For a while, he was for sure the guy, with his wife Lauren as his muse. “Die a Happy Man” came out way back in 2015, which led to a string of honeymoon love hits. Relationships grow and evolve though, and what was once a young fling turns into marriage. Luke and Nichole are starting to enter the phase of life Thomas were in all those years ago. They are getting married and starting a family. Until their family starts though, expect the honeymoon phase might be in control of radio airwaves for the future. Luke Combs, once again, is a fucking monster. He won this award, and spoiler alert, you might be seeing his name again.

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Top 10 Luke Combs Songs

Since his firs #1 song, “Hurricane” in 2016, Luke Combs has been a #1 country music artist. Now, we took his 12 #1 songs and stacked them against the rest of his discography. Let us know what you think!

10. Hurricane

9. Let the Moonshine

8. Honky Tonk Highway

7. She Got the Best of Me

6. Even Though I’m Leaving

5. Forever After All

4. Cold As You

3. 1, 2 Many

2. When it Rains it Pours

1. Beer Never Broke My Heart

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10 Country Artists Who Like to Party

            Let’s fucking go. What country artist do you want to get fucked up with? In the past, it was well documented that artists had major drinking and drug problems. Today that doesn’t seem to be the case because of PR people and all that stuff. Still, I can’t imagine that there are no fun partying country people in 2022. Saying that these are the 10 artists that would be the most fun to party with. I don’t have much evidence, but based on what artists put out on the gram. Without further ado, here is the list.

10. Riley Green

Fuck Riley Green and how perfect he is. He’s attractive, has the voice of an angel, hunts, and has amazing flow. Why wouldn’t you want to go out on the town with him? He will get all the ladies coming in flocks, and guys, can we blame them? My man seems like he is always sipping on something. Also, the fact that he’s still single all points to a Riley Green being a fun ass night.

9. Luke Combs

 I don’t know if Luke Combs is rowdy or not. Based on his past teaming up with Upchurch, plus his ability to shotgun a beer, I would have to say he is. On top of this, he has a solid posse around him. His wife is hot as fuck and I’m sure she has friends that are equally as attractive. I imagine that after a good show he can get fucked up and have a good time.

8. The Tim Montana/Michael Ray crew

  A little less known than others, Tim Montana is hilarious. If you follow his Instagram, you would see he is hilarious and I imagine he would be any less fun in person. Scrolling through his page, you see many photos of the long hair wildman rocking Pit Vipers, or kissing another dude because he lost a bet. He might also be sitting in a bathtub playing with toy cars and drinking… a lot. He also has hung out with ZZ Top leadman Billy F. Gibbons, Kid Rock, and Michael Ray.

 Speaking of Michael Ray, I’m not sure when exactly I flipped my opinion on his music, but I’m happy I did. His first album was on the pop side of country music, but his newer stuff is fantastic. He has a little bit of image repair to do because of his early stuff, but I could see him being very popular in the future. These guys combined, along with the legends mentioned above would be an insane night.

7. Ryan Upchurch

 So I will say this with a little caveat. Church isn’t much of a drinker and I’m not much of a smoker, so our particular types of partying might not match up perfectly. Saying that though, I can’t imagine an “on night” of Upchurch wanting to throw down is beatable by much. My man pretty much calls his shot and grinds his way to whatever he wants. I want to be a part of that, whether it’s going down to Broadway in Nashville or having some of the boys over to the house for a wild night in.

6. Justin Moore

  Justin admits that he isn’t the wild partier that he used to be. Still, I can’t imagine that on the right night he doesn’t have it in him. My guy passed out one night after recording his podcast under his desk. He has many times had to apologize for being too drunk. Justin and his tour manager, JR, have often talked about nights after the show being hammered and calling legends like Brantley Gilbert, Tracey Lawrence, and more after a show. I wouldn’t expect to wake up in a ditch on a night out with Justin, but I don’t think their’s anything wrong with that.

5. Dustin Lynch

  Dustin is like Riley Green in terms of he’s a good-looking dude who can sing and all that crap that girls love. In the past, he has had a few smoke showgirls in his life, although he is single at the moment. He seems like a chameleon, and that’s why he ranks so much higher than Riley Green. My man has done it all. He’s partied on a yacht in Marina Del Rey and chainsawed and cut trees down on his farm. That’s the guy I want to chill with, the guy who has been everywhere. I met Dustin Lynch one time. His ability to make a 30-second conversation seem like he finds you interesting is incredible.

4. Buck Commander boys

You might be asking who exactly the Buck Commander boys are. That’s a valid question. Country artists Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Tyler Farr, plus baseball players Tombo Martin, Ryan Langerhans, Adam LaRoche, and who could forget Willie Robinson make up the squad. First off, these guys have the highest net worth of anyone on the list. This means the best alcohol, the coolest experience, and the nicest stuff. Saying that I do have a caveat to that. I only have these guys this high if we are at deer camp. That eliminates the huge mansions, the nice cars, and all that shit. It forces these guys to be boys and chill with the boys. On their TV show, I’ve seen them pull crazy pranks like destroy rental cars, and often wake up hungover to get out to the stands. It would be a shit ton of fun.

3. Kid Rock

This man doesn’t need much of a description, does he? He’s Kid Rock. My man has out-partied the number 1 partiers on this list. He also put one of them behind bars unintentionally. Every celebrity ever has a wild story about partying at his house, or him partying somewhere. The rapper gone rocker gone country singer is someone I would expect to wake up cuddled up to like a tiger or some shit like that after partying with for the night.

2. Hank Williams Jr.

 Similar to Kid Rock, I would expect to die after one night with Hank. I would expect to walk up to the man, be handed a bottle of whiskey, and then wake up the next morning not remembering a fucking thing. But man, what a great few minutes of pounding that whiskey it would be.

1. Morgan Wallen/Hardy/Ernest

  So the boys get to number one because this is a combination of people I could actually hang with, plus the fun factor. Morgan Wallen’s parting habits have been well documented over the past few years. To be honest I don’t think he’s changed much since all the backlash, which is perfect. Hardy was arrested for smashing car windows not all that long ago. Ernest is out and about about his drugs and drinking habits. On the Theo Von podcast, “This Past Weekend,” he talked about how he spent most of the time hungover on the couch while the other two wrote “More than my Hometown.”

  I feel like most people would be in the same boat as me that these guys are the “party guys” on the current generation of country stars. Florida Georgia Line were the guys before, but since being wifed up they seem to have calmed down a little. I imagine these guys are fucking reckless, and will likely get you either arrested or very close to it.

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Could Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs Surpass Two Country Music Goats?

Luke Combs and Morgan Wallen… bam… click bait. These two are on absolute tears right now. Wallen is having a remarkable comeback from his controversy in the beginning of the year, with “Sand on My Boots” climbing the charts as his first single back. Luke Combs is sitting on his 12th number one hit with “Cold as You.” We could very easily be watching two all-time greats at the beginning stages of their careers, and it’s a lot of fun. There have been artists before that started hot and phased out, artists like Hunter Hayes had his first six singles all do well before disappearing. I think we are watching these two challenge some of the greatest commercial country artists, Luke Combs could realistically beat out George Strait for the most number ones of all time, and Wallen could challenge Garth Brooks for the best-selling artist of all time. How possible is it and how hot are these guys right now? Funny you ask, read on to find out.

Luke Combs just got it all overnight right? Amazing music, extremely hot wife, money, fame? It just popped up one day… right? Don’t tell Luke Combs that. He struggled early to get any traction or attention on music row. He was told that the songs he brought to the city were terrible, and he should just give it up. Those songs by the way included “Hurricane” and “When it Rains it Pours.” However, after grinding for a while, Combs finally did get the chance he deserved, and after “Hurricane” slowly climbed the charts to #1, the rest of the music took off. In fact, Luke Combs has never not had a song top the charts, he is a perfect 11 for 11 to this point, and “Cold as You” will probably ring the bell in a few weeks. You might say, “who cares, there are lots of artists with radio success who no one cares about,” and you would be correct, but out of his singles, the WORST selling one still is certified gold. I don’t think I need to really sell Luke Combs; I think he’s doing ok, but the streak he is on is fucking crazy, and it just started.

            Ya know what, I will continue to sell Luke Combs, and I’m going to do it by comparing him to, who else, Justin Moore. Justin Moore has had 19 songs released as singles, of those, 10 have topped the charts. In reality, that’s a widely successful career, that’s more than Eric Church, Lee Brice, and Chris Young. Moore released his first single in 2008, Luke Combs released his first single in 2016. That’s how fast Luke Combs has been piling up number ones, he is dwarfing Justin Moore’s numbers and Justin had an eight-year lead on the guy. This is why I think that Luke Combs should be compared to the likes of George Strait, or Alan Jackson.

            First off, I am by no means saying that Luke Combs is George Strait. I am however saying that I do believe that Combs could challenge him for the title of most number one hits by the end of his career. Luke Combs is 31 years old, which gives him about 19 more years of relevance. Let’s say that he has two number one songs per year, that would be 38, plus at the 11 he already has would be 49. George Strait has 44 number ones, and although Luke probably won’t be able to keep up the pace he is on, it’s not impossible. The other part of this is likeability, an artist can do well on the radio but not actually have many fans. Who doesn’t like Luke Combs? He has found the perfect formula of love songs for the girls, 90s country for the traditionalists, and rock songs for the hardcore guys. Anytime Combs comes around me, nosebleed tickets are selling for well over $100.

             So what about the either guy at the top of the country music world? Morgan Wallen is still too new to have the crazy stats Luke Combs has overall, but what his two albums have done in a short time are crazy. Morgan Wallen was another guy who didn’t exactly pop off right away. He was on “The Voice” but failed because he didn’t sing One Direction as well as he sings country. He went to Nashville after that and released “The Way I Talk” which died early on the charts. In 2018 he released the album “If I Know Me” and it didn’t really make much noise. His second single, “Up Down” with Florida Georgia Line topped the charts but didn’t really do much at the time for Wallen. The next single, “Whiskey Glasses” really is the song that changed his career. After that, the mullet came out and the rest is history. Wallen is 4 for 6 with singles going number one, and that’s only because “7 Summers” got dropped off the radio because of the bullshit N-word thing.

            Wallen essentially took 2021 off from the public eye, yet his album “Dangerous” will probably be the best-selling album of 2021, setting a shit ton of chart records in the process. I really don’t think this is going to be a phase either, Wallen has done something similar to Combs in the fact that he has captured a wide audience. He has the look, which is literally setting a trend across America with the mullet and cutoff flannel. The women love him, songs like “7 Summers” went from being a demo he teased on Instagram to a platinum selling smash hit. Men love his as well, songs like “Country A$$ Shit” are meant to fire up his redneck following. I think that Morgan Wallen has a legitimate chance to be the next Garth Brooks.

            The thing about Garth Brooks is that no one really thinks about him as a true country artist or a radio successful guy. He is known as a cowboy who stayed true to himself musically yet competed with the biggest pop stars in the 90s. He also is known for his crazy energy during performances and often is considered the best performer of all time. He is second to only “The Beatles” in all time album sales. I’m not exactly sure how streaming numbers will translate to album sales, because in reality no one buys albums anymore, but I would expect Wallen to be making his way towards the top of the charts regardless.

If you look back the past ten years, there were artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and Carrie Underwood dominating the genre, but these two just feel bigger. Luke Combs is just on fire, and although he is far away, he could eventually end up at the very least challenging Strait for the most number ones of all time. Wallen has had a roller coaster of a career so far, yet his controversies (that no one actually gives a shit about) have really only vaulted his success to the next level. I can’t wait to look back in 2030 at this next decade, because I want to see how much more success these guys had over the third most successful artist of the decade (Thomas Rhett maybe?) It will be interesting to continue to track these guys, because I think we are watching two all-time greats battle it out to be the biggest name in country music.

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First Wheeler Walker Jr. and now Upchurch apologizing?!?!?!

For lack of a better term, Upchurch is a smartass. That’s why we love him, though, because he does shit to rile people up while making his followers laugh. One of his latest videos, named “My apology video…” is a prime example of this. Released on February 18th, the video is meant to be a spoof of Morgan Wallen’s apology on Instagram for saying the N-word. He first talks about the situation and talks about how Nashville is turning soft. Nashville was always an outlaw city, but now it is a pc city.

He doesn’t defend Morgan Wallen for saying the N-word. He does, however, say that he thinks the situation was blown out of proportion; Upchurch says that “cancel culture” people are treating black people worse than presumed “racists” because they are telling the entire black community how they should feel. He says that he has many black friends, and none of them give a shit about what Morgan Wallen said.

           Upchurch then further talks about the Dixie Chicks dropping their name to the Chicks and saying that dixie is just where they are from. It isn’t a racist word but a geographic location. He takes a few jabs at Luke Combs, talking about how he is a sellout and how his reps told Upchurch to take down the “Outlaw” video because it put Combs in a room with the confederate flag. Combs has been outspoken about how he was uneducated about the flag and has apologized for it before cancel culture got to him. He also dropped the bomb about how Combs got his record deal. After all, the music industry offered it to them in exchange for not being around the confederate flag anymore; Combs took the deal, Upchurch didn’t. I think that the link between Luke Combs and Ryan Upchurch is fascinating. Even though Combs wants to shake it, it is remarkable that country music’s most prominent name right now started with a feature on a rap song just a few years ago.

Upchurch cannot be changed or manipulated, no matter the power behind it. Overall, it seems more artists should push back like Upchurch has and stand their ground where they can. That may be dependent on big record labels taking complete control of the content we listen to daily. Upchurch released the album “Mud to Gold” last week, and the album was number one on iTunes up until last Friday. He has a following, and even though his actions and beliefs get him labeled as a bad guy, Upchurch brings honesty and insight well beyond his years. He will be ignored by many, but he isn’t going anywhere, which is a testament to his own hard work. Check out “Mud to Gold” on iTunes and the full video below.

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