Country music sensation Luke Combs is paving his own path, but he credits the hitmakers that have come before him and industry peers for inspiring his artistry.
The “Forever After All” singer recently (Dec. 21) jumped on social media to share a long-running list of albums that have “changed” his life or influenced his craft. Combs’ idea was sparked by a popular Twitter thread that raked in 374.2K views and caught the attention of the country community.
“What’s a country album that changed your life or had a major influence on you,” read the tweet by radio personality, Chris Owen.
The multi-platinum artist was quick to respond. While the roundup includes multiple legends, it also features modern-country musicians significantly shifting the genre.
Combs’ hot picks include:
Randy Travis – “Storms of Life”
Randy Travis released “Storms of life” in 1986. The country crooner has sold three million copies of the multi-platinum collection. The 10-song tracklist includes timeless tunes such as – “On The Other Hand” featuring Keith Whitley, “1982,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “Reasons I Cheat,” and “There’ll Always Be A Honky Tonk Somewhere.” On The 35th anniversary of the project, Travis dropped a deluxe edition that includes several remastered versions and unreleased tracks from his “vault.”
Garth Brooks – “No Fences”
Country music icon Garth Brooks dropped “No Fences” in 1990 with Capitol Nashville. The Allen Reynolds-produced project graced the top of Billboard’s Country Albums chart upon release and scored No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. To date, “No Fences” is Brooks’ best-selling record. The world-renowned collection includes some of his biggest hits like “Friends in Low Places,” “The Thunder Rolls,” and “Unanswered Prayers.”
Vince Gill – “I Still Believe In You”
Esteemed singer-songwriter Vince Gill has left an ever-lasting impression on Luke Combs. “I Still Believe In You” scored third on Combs’ all-time favorite list. Gill released his fifth studio album in 1992. The icon recorded the project in Nashville’s legendary Masterfonics and sound stage studios alongside producer Tony Brown. The must-listen collection contains his chart-topping track “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away.”
Brooks & Dunn – “Hard Workin’ Man”
Brooks & Dunn’s second studio album, “Hard Workin’ Man” became available to the public in 1993. The collection, chock-full of honk-tonk tracks made waves at the time and changed the trajectory of their music career. Within the same year, the country-rock collection scored the duo a nomination for Album of the Year at the ACM Awards and a GRAMMY for Best Country performance. The project includes “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “We’ll Burn That Bridge,” and “Rock My World.”
Eric Church – “Sinners Like Me”
The chief has secured a spot on Combs’ ultimate roundup. “Sinners Like Me” served as Erich Church’s debut studio album. The Jay Joyce-produced tracklist arrived in 2006 and foreshadowed his bright future in country music. Upon release, the North Carolina native graced the top of the hot Country Songs chart. The music video for the fan-favorite track “Lightning” became his first appearance on CMT.
Jason Isbell – “Southeastern”
“Southeastern” did not just mark a massive milestone for Alabama singer-songwriter Jason Isbell but shook the alternative country community. On the heels of leaving his band, The Drive-By Truckers – the vocalist released his first full-length solo project. The independent collection that showcases his vulnerable songwriting and infectious sound include – “Cover Me Up,” “Elephant,” “Live Oak,” Songs That She Sang in the Shower,” and more. Upon release, the album broke into the top 20 on the Billboard 200 chart and scored No.7 on the Rock Albums chart. The project proves that Isbell is far from a surface-level artist, as it conveys heart-wrenching narratives about sexual misconduct, sickness, and substance abuse.
Kip Moore – “Wild Ones”
“Wild Ones” serves as Kip Moore’s second studio album. The 2015 record followed his major label debut “Up All Night.” The vocalist joined forces with world-renowned artists Brett James and Chris DeStefano to cultivate the collection, which leans more toward rock than country. Moore coiled all 13 tracks on the project, including chart-topping singles “I’m to Blame” and “Running For You.”
Jon Pardi – “California Sunrise”
Country-pop star Jon Pardi placed his name on radars nationwide with his second studio album, “California Sunrise.” The hitmaker released his well-rounded collection in 2016 and instantly garnered a devoted fan base by striking a fine balance between modern and traditional country. The made-for-radio record debuted at No.11 on the US Billboard 200 chart and claimed No.1 on the Country Albums chart upon release.
Miranda Lambert – “Weight of These Wings”
Long before the country trailblazer Miranda Lambert joined forces with Combs on “Outrunnin’ Your Memory” which lives on his latest album “Growin’ Up,” she released “The Weight of These Wings.” Lambert’s sixth studio record was released in 2016 and scored top placement on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Lambert split the collection into two parts – “The Nerve” and “The Heart.” The award-winning project touches upon her divorce from Blake Shelton and has songwriting credits from some of the biggest names on Music Row – Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, Luke Dick, and more. “Weight of These Wings” received Album of The Year at the 2017 ACM Awards.