Though his career is young when compared to those of country music legends, Luke Bryan has already accomplished a great deal. Luke moved to Nashville in 2001, the same year the current Country Music Hall of Fame opened, and now, in 2015, the two have come together for a very special event. Today, May 20, 2015, marks the grand opening of Luke Bryan’s Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit, paying tribute to the reigning Entertainer of the Year’s upbringing, musical history, and career highlight moments.
NashvilleGab was fortunate to be among the few print media entities present at the private unveiling of the exhibit today, sharing intimate moments with Luke prior to his first “This Is Your Life” style walk-through in the upper level of the landmark building. As Luke’s notable music played through the speakers of the small auditorium, the hit-maker emerged from the wings with a casual “hey hey!” He then took his seat and fielded questions from familiar faces and members of the media.
Words Luke immediately used to describe his feelings about this honor included “very flattered” and “means the world to me,” as well as the very sentimental statement “I feel so blessed that it happened so fast and I’m not going to take it for granted.” The joy was written all over the superstar’s face as he shared stories of his childhood, growth as an artist, and the items that he could only guess were behind the glass at that point.
Of specific note, Luke was asked about a jacket and backpack which he wore in second grade, instantly sharing a fond memory about the army green bag that he lugged to school. The very backpack that now sits in the Country Music Hall of Fame once belonged to his late brother, Chris Bryan, and only displayed Chris’s name on one fateful school day. When the backpack was discovered as a lost and found item and nobody recognized it as their own, Luke suddenly realized that when the teacher called the name “Chris Bryan,” it was actually his. He claimed the bag and immediately scrawled “Luke Bryan” on it, ensuring it was never again misplaced.
Also present in the special exhibit are Luke Bryan’s first piano (which belongs to a family friend and he is unsure a formal ask was issued regarding donating the instrument to the exhibit):
Luke Bryan’s first guitar (which he originally borrowed from a neighbor in an attempt to impress girls):
His first song he ever penned “The Day He Turned Around” (at the age of fifteen or sixteen for his church):
And a collection of other items that you can see upon visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, which tell the story of a young man turned adolescent athlete turned musical monstrosity.
While listening to Luke predict his exhibit’s contents and tell the touching tales of his belongings was an incomparable experience, the most moving moment of the night was watching him share his first look with family members. Present to escort Luke down the hall that contains some of the most precious pieces of his personal and professional lives were wife Caroline, nephew Til, mother LeClaire, and several others.
Luke is “very honored” to now share space with some of his personal heroes, Ronnie Milsap, Alabama, Conway Twitty, Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks, and Reba McEntire; and it won’t be long before the next generation of musicians comes through and has the Country Music Hall of Fame honoree atop its list of heroic figures in music history.
Thank you to Luke Bryan and the Country Music Hall of Fame for inviting us to this very special event. It was an absolute honor to be among those who were receiving the exclusive first glance at this country music star’s display.