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Luke Bryan

I'll Stay Me – 2007 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan described his hometown of Leesburg, Ga. as "100 miles north of the Florida border, 100 miles east of the Alabama border and in the middle of nowhere."

His 11-song debut has a similarly rural feel to it. Bryan, who co-wrote Billy Currington's number one hit "Good Directions," proves his versatility on an album that combines twangy vocals and fiddles with catchy melodies.

"Country Man," however, is chock full of country clichés and is Bryan's only misstep on an otherwise solid album. It's catchy in the same way "Achy Breaky Heart" was 15 years ago.

"All My Friends Say" is an upbeat party song about a guy who relies on second-hand information to remember the night before, and the title track is as simple as it sounds. Bryan sings about how everyone wants to be something they're not, and he won't change. Bryan never strays far from country themes on his poignant ballads, touching on everything from young love ("First Love Song") and a rural upbringing ("We Rode In Trucks") to remembering fishing trips with grandpa ("Tacklebox").