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Luke Bryan

Mike Sudhalter  |  August 22, 2007

Luke Bryan is starting his career the right away.

The Georgia native gave his CD release party at Club Rodeo in San Jose, Calif. just a month after visiting the club. Admission to the show was $12 and that included a copy of his debut album, "I'll Stay Me", which was released last week.

Also, Bryan signed autographs for all of the fans who waited in line after the show.

This is what every new artist should be doing because setting yourself apart from the pack begins and ends with the fans.

Seriously, how many concert-goers knew that Bryan co-wrote "Good Directions", a No. 1 hit for Billy Currington? After singing along word-for-word, they know it now.

I don't often travel to Club Rodeo, located in downtown San Jose. Not because I don't like a good honky-tonk. It's about 80 miles away, and it needs to be an artist I really want to see, in order for me to make the trek.

Little did I know this would be a CD release party or an acoustic concert with just Bryan, his guitarist and fiddler. He played eight of the 11 songs on the new album in an hour-long set. I was surprised that he didn't play "We Rode In Trucks", one of the three songs I heard him play in Nashville. Perhaps, he didn't play it because the song has more of a southern feel and he didn't think it would have gone over well with a West Coast audience.

In addition to the songs on the album, he did an impressive cover of Conway Twitty's "I'd Love To Lay You Down" and obviously, "Good Directions".

He also tried to make a joke, mocking a beautiful song while making a fool of himself - it was all in good fun. He sang The Judds' classic "Grandpa, Tell Me 'Bout The Good Ole Days" in a very high-pitched voice. Then, he jokingly told the audience he doesn't want that to appear on youtube.

Bryan has great stage presence and he seems to always be having fun on stage. He's got a great charisma to him. I know Elvis fans may accuse me of blasphemy, but I think Bryan reminds me of a young Elvis with his charisma and stage presence. Maybe he's Elvis, originally known as "The Hillbilly Cat", if Elvis never crossed over into genres other than country.

Nonetheless, it's something that wouldn't have come across on the album, only in the live show. Bryan, obviously, will never be as big as Elvis, but this could be the start of a successful, lengthy country career for him.

And he can build that base by signing those countless autographs for prospective fans.

:: Posted at 3:16 AM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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