What Makes You Country

Album: What Makes You Country (2017)
Charted: 54

Songfacts®:

  • Luke Bryan penned this song with Dallas Davidson and Ashley Gorley. It finds the singer defending himself against critics who accuse him of not honoring a traditional country sound.

    "I would be foolish to say I don't get frustrated with people picking me apart about not being country when I know I'm country," Bryan admitted, before adding. "'What Makes You Country' is just about reassuring that I'm kind of stuck in my roots."
  • Bryan has a list of what makes him country, which includes manners and growing up in Georgia.

    "I think that what makes me country is where I was raised - Leesburg, Georgia - how I was brought up saying 'Yes sir,' 'No sir,' 'Yes, ma'am,' 'No, ma'am,' hopefully with manners and raised with a work ethic and raised in the outdoors fishing and hunting and playing sports," he said. "I would say definitely it starts with my small-town upbringing and how we were raised; church on Sundays as much as we could. But just enjoying life and living life in a small town."
  • Bryan admitted that his producer Jeff Stevens wasn't sure about the idea of him taking on his haters with a song. "I turned the song in to him," the country star remembered, "and Jeff's like, 'Luke, I don't know about it. You've never had to kind of stand up for who you are through your music.' He goes, 'You don't have to answer to your haters.'"

    But Bryan was determined to lay down the track. "I said, 'Well, Taylor Swift did it in "Shake It Off" and it kinda went well for her.' And it was done perfectly. When I heard that, I was like 'You go, girl!'"

    "So, with 'What Makes You Country,' you know, if they hear that chorus, 'I got my dirt road cred when I was 12, on a no-cab tractor hauling hay bales' - which I did and still do! And they still want to call me not country, then they're just being ignorant." he concluded.
  • The song's music video was directed by longtime collaborator Michael Monaco and shot in November 2018 at the singer's farm south of Nashville. It features Bryan's sons Bo and Tate, his nephew Til, their dog Choc and a handful of close friends all enjoying some country fun.
  • Luke Bryan is a Georgia-born son of a peanut farmer; he views the song as a reminder of his authenticity. "It's just about reassuring that I'm kinda stuck in my roots," he explained to ABC News. "And I mean, when I'm doing hunting shows and posting pictures of me and my boys - I mean, when I've got a seven-year-old that can throw a bait-caster halfway across a lake, hook a seven-pound bass, you know, that's me being out there in the country with him teaching him how to do that. And that's what I want my fans to see."

    The singer added that the song is also a way to stand up to those doubters who've questioned whether he's country enough. "You know, if they hear that chorus - I got my dirt road cred when I was 12, on a no-cab tractor hauling hay bales - which I did, and still do - and they still wanna call me not country, well, they're just being ignorant," he said.

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