Luke Bryan has high hopes for second album

Luke Bryan figured he could do better. And now he figures he's done just that.

"I thought the first album was very beatable," said the Leesburg, Ga., native, who just released his sophomore effort, Doin' My Thing, on Capitol Records. "I mean, it was good and it served its purpose, but it certainly wasn't like the Dixie Chicks' first album, or Gretchen Wilson's. I had two Top 10 hits off of it, and that was exciting. But with this album, we're wanting No. 1s. We want to turn a corner, and I feel we're going to be able to."

The album's first single, "Do I," is now in the top 15 of Billboard's country singles chart and rising steadily, but for the most part, country music corners are navigated slowly. Singles take months to rise up the charts to the point that a new song is known widely and well enough to spur sales and raise concert appearance fees. And the superstars of the day Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood and their like race the fastest parts of the track.

Bryan spent much of 2007 and 2008 enjoying some success with singles "All My Friends Say" and "Country Man," and also learning to negotiate the business' murky waters. After fulfilling a dream by signing a major label record deal, he learned quickly that the work was just beginning.

"It's been way beyond what I envisioned," he said. "It's been way more work, and way more concentration. The main thing is making sure that you're running every single thing in the proper fashion. Any artist can fool people for a little while, but for it to continue you have to have it all together. Am I out partying every night, to where I can't deliver on stage? When I walk on the bus, are all of my band guys happy? Are my wife and child happy at the house? The vibe of it all determines how big this is going to be."

'It's tough'

Bryan's musical vibe finds him on the country side of the pop-country divide. He looks up to fellow Georgia native Alan Jackson for the way that Jackson has maintained musical focus and kept his writing pen sharp for decades. And Bryan understands that his approach isn't in lock step with what's always in favor with the coveted youth audience.

Read the article at Tennessean.com