Song Secrets: Luke Bryan Says ‘Country On’ Lyrics Have ‘A Little Patriotism, a Lot of Pride’
There was one lyric from Luke Bryan's new song "Country On" that really caught his attention, but he hears the same classic country inspiration that any fan will hear if they're old enough.
The blue-collar anthem is Bryan's first song from a new album that he tells Taste of Country he's still building. Soon after his team signed off on this song, he pushed it out to country radio.
"When I heard, 'Hey, cowboy, keep slinging that rope / Eating that dirt, wearing that gold / Break a leg, rodeo, but just don’t break no bones,'" he says, answering the question of which part of the song really hooked him. "I love that lyric. It's just badass."
Bryan felt that "Country On" would be instantly relatable. For longtime fans of the genre, it recalls Alabama's No. 1 hit "40 Hour Week (For a Livin') from 1984, but with more contemporary production. The singer smiles when Taste of Country Nights host Evan Paul brings that up.
"Obviously when you reference the big rig and all that. You know, it does a little bit of all that," he says.
"It's obviously got a little bit of patriotism in it. It's got a lot of country pride in it. The hard-working men and women out there, across the United States, I think it speaks to them really well."
"Hey fireman, boys and girls in blue / We could sure use a lot more like you / You come running in anytime anything goes wrong / Country on / Hey soldier, wherever you might be / Hats off to keeping us free / All our thoughts and prayers 'til you get back home / Country on."
Mitch Oglesby, David Frasier and Styles Haury co-wrote "Country On," but it was the song's fourth writer who had the most prodigious catalog. Tim McGraw's "Just to See You Smile," George Strait's "Living and Living Well" and Keith Urban's "You Look Good In My Shirt" are all a part of Mark Nesler's body of work. The others are established hitmakers for Chris Janson, Lee Brice, Cody Johnson and more, but it was Nesler who Bryan calls one of his favorites ever.
"When I heard it, it kind of tickled my ear, and then I kept listening and kept listening and then as I started thinking about other songs on the album that I'm building ... I was like, 'Man, this thing just settles in so amazing.'"
While not a duet — stay close, because Bryan big-time teased one for his new album — there is a prominent female voice on "Country On." That's Sarah Buxton, writer of the fan-favorite Urban song "Stupid Boy" and a backing vocalist Bryan has used frequently. He credits her for being bold enough to be more than just a backing vocalist on the new song.
"This time, she just started singing out there and stepping out there. His voice is just amazing on it," he says.
"I say hey, hey, USA / We ain't seen our better days / Hell naw, hey y’all / Country on / Country on."
"There's no way you can't hear it and it not relate to you if you're a country music fan," Bryan says. "Country On" is the follow-up to "Up," which was the sixth radio single from Born Here, Live Here, Die Here (2020). He made no promises about his next album, but it's worth circling August 2022 or August 2023, as five of his seven previous studio albums were released in that month.
Here Are the Lyrics to Luke Bryan, "Country On":
Hey, farm boy, keep dropping that plow / Bailing that hay, feeding them cows / From the rooster crow 'til another long day is gone / Country on / Hey, big rig, keep clocking them miles / Pulling that horn, making us smile / Rolling that load down the road all night long Country on.
Hey, cowboy, keep slinging that rope / Eating that dirt, wearing that gold / Break a leg, rodeo, but just don’t break no bones Country on / Hey, barkeep, how 'bout another round / Keep the neon lit in this crazy town / Just pour a little more / Country on.
Country on, yeah, country on / Hey fireman, boys and girls in blue / We could sure use a lot more like you / You come running in anytime anything goes wrong / Country on / Hey soldier, wherever you might be / Hats off to keeping us free / All our thoughts and prayers 'til you get back home / Country on.
Hey, hometown, keep throwing that ball / Raise ‘em outside, hang a fish on the wall / They only stay little so long, so love ‘em up strong Country on.
I say hey, hey, USA / We ain't seen our better days / Hell naw, hey y’all / Country on / Country on.
Hey, Nashville, keep bending them strings / Digging for gold, chasing them dreams / Keep on with your songs 'til the whole world's singing along Country on.
Country on and on and on and on and on / Country on and on and on, country on / Keep keeping on and on and on and on and on / Country on and on and on, country on / Yeah, country on / Yeah, country on and on and on, on and on / Country on.