Luke Combs; Photo Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville
Luke Combs; Photo Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

Luke Combs Explains The Meaning Behind Each Track On ‘Growin’ Up’

Luke Combs’ third studio album, Growin’ Up, was in the works for about three years. After spending so much time recording the tracks before, during and after the pandemic, prepping to be a first-time father and having his major tour thrown into the mix, this project is finally out. Although it took a lot of hard work, Combs had a lot of fun in the process. 

Produced by Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton, this 12-track collection features Combs’ No. 1 hit “Doin’ This,” the fan-favorite, “Tomorrow Me” and his latest release, “The Kind Of Love We Make.” The North Carolina native also included a collaboration with country superstar Miranda Lambert titled, “Outrunnin’ Your Memory.”

Grown’ Up follows his chart-topping, 2x Platinum 2019 album, What You See Is What You Get, and the 2020 deluxe edition, What You See Ain’t Always What You Get. As Combs explained, the title for this project represents different stages of life, as it takes both his older and newer fans into account.

“You still want to have your fans that are college kids and you still want to be a college kid. But also, you got to realize that you have fans that were college kids seven years ago that are now probably about the same age as myself maybe a little older, maybe a little younger. But we’re all kind of hitting this transitional period in our lives at the same time,” he explained. “And so, I want to be able to reach those people that I was planning to when I started, but also reach the people that have been here with me since day one. So I think this album does its best to try and do that.”

The themes of the album remain in the typical realm for Combs as he sings about small towns, beer and heartbreak, but he also crosses over into a new era with sounds that fans may not have expected from him. 

Even though the “Beautiful Crazy” singer covers the traditional country music topics, every song holds its own unique significance that goes beyond what appears on the surface. Continue reading to discover the true meaning behind each track.

“Doin This”

Doin’ This was written, I guess, probably, gosh, probably over a year ago, I would say or just at maybe a year ago, a little bit before. And I was sitting here with Rob Williford and Drew Parker. And we, you know, we had scheduled a day to write a song and couldn’t really think of anything to write about to be completely honest with you. And so we ended up just talking, we had been sitting around for two hours talking about whatever and talking about, you know, we weren’t back on the road yet, at that point. So it was we’re just talking about how, you know, how much we missed that, and that kind of led into just a whole, you know, career, you know, kind of deep dive conversation, I guess. And one point I had said, you know, people always ask me in interviews, you know, what would you be doing if you weren’t doing this? And I think that kind of the, the light kind of went off in all of our heads at that time and wrote about half the song that day, and then we scheduled another day to finish it, and then we just like, honestly couldn’t wait. So I think they came over like two days later, and we ended up finishing it and yeah, just to just, you know, one of my one of my favorite songs, I think it really speaks for itself and you know, people can relate to the words of that song, you know, not only in music, but anybody that loves what they do and feels like they get to do you know, something that they look forward to doing every day, can really sink their teeth into that song.”

“Any Given Friday Night”

Any Given Friday Night, I wrote in Montana. With Randy Montana, ironically enough, no relation to the state, I’m assuming. And then Jonathan Singleton, two guys I’ve been writing with, for a number of years now, we wrote Beer Never Broke My Heart together. And had just kind of been thinking about, you know, life in these little towns that are, you know, just outside of, you know, there are towns that are even more outside of, you know, smaller towns, which is kind of where I live now. And you kind of see how, at least living in where I do now, life really does revolve around that Friday night, kind of thing. You know, it’s like, the whole place kind of comes to life, you know, like, everybody’s off work. And, you know, kids are playing baseball games, there’s high school football games going on. Like, all the little restaurants are packed to the brim, and all the all the high school kids are out doing what high school kids do. And you remember when you used to do those things, and you watch it happen. And so that was just kind of the basis of it was, you know, and there’s a billion, you know, a billion, million country songs about, you know, Friday nights and small towns. But I think that is, you know, such a huge part of, you know, what I remember about growin up is, you know, just hanging out with my friends on a Friday night and I mean, heck, I still do that now. I’m 32 years old, and, you know, still, you know, have the boys over, you know, watch a football game or, you know, whatever. And that’s really, you know, where the idea for that song came from and I knew Randy and Jonathan could relate to that just as much as I could. So that’s where that’s where we came up with the idea for that one.”

“The Kind of Love We Make”

“The Kind Of Love We Make written in Montana. Dan and Reid Isbell and then my guitar tech Jamie Davis. Who used to be in a band with Dan, Jamie Davis and soul gravy great name by the way. That was him and Dan’s band in college and ended up meeting Jamie through Dan and he’s been working for us for a few years now. And have recently started writing songs with him and he had had this idea and Dan and Reid brought it to me and I just thought it was such a killer melody and ended up kind of being one of those songs that really wrote itself man. You know now me and Dan and Reid are, you know, all having kids within a month of each other so maybe this song had something to do with that. I don’t know but this one’s, this one’s pretty self explanatory. Give it a listen to me what you think.”

“On The Other Line”

On The Other Line. James McNair, Randy Montana, Dan Isbell, Thomas Archer, all guys that I’ve been writing with for a number of years. Dan and Randy had started this song, maybe a year ago, they came down to visit. James and Thomas and Dan had come down, Randy wasn’t there. And Dan was like, hey, I got this thing I, you know, worked up with Randy. And, you know, everybody’s been in that situation now, where it’s like, you know, you’re you’re married, or maybe you got kids, you got a bunch of stuff going on. And you’re out doing something that you maybe don’t get to do as often as you would like to. And you get the call from your wife that’s like, hey, you got to get back and you’re like, yeah, well, you know, just, you know, I’ll be back for sure. Maybe you get in an argument with your wife, and you got to do something and it’s…hey, you need to get back to the house kind of thing. Everybody’s been there. So just kind of a tongue and cheek idea at that. You know, also I love to fish so having a fishing song on here was not bad for me. But it’s kind of a new stage in life where you’re, you know, you’re 30 something now and like I said, you got a bunch of stuff going on, but you still want to do all those things that you had infinite time to do when you were younger. And I think the song speaks to that pretty well.”

Outrunnin’ Your Memory

Outrunnin’ Your Memory. Wrote the song with Miranda Lambert, it’s kind of an interesting story. You know, we had talked about writing before in passing. And I’ve always been a huge fan of her writing. Obviously, man, I think she’s one of the best artists, writers of, you know, not only our generation, but of all time. And so we got together and wrote at her manager’s office and, you know, had thrown around some ideas and, and, you know, couldn’t really land on something we loved. And I had come up with an idea with my buddy, Dan Isbell, the day before this write with Miranda. And so I pitched that idea to her. And she was like, oh, I really liked that idea. And I was like, man, I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing this without my buddy, Dan, because we kind of came up with this idea together. So I ended up calling Dan. He dropped whatever he was doing to come to come write with us that afternoon. And in like the hour that it took for him to get there, we ended up starting a completely different idea, which is Outrunnin’ Your Memory. And so we had had the chorus done, Dan got there, helped us knock out the rest of it. So it’s me, Dan, Miranda, love this song. I really do. It’s one of my favorites has such a kind of a different feel than some other stuff. And I think, you know, I’ve spoken about this album, kind of being transitional, you know, because I’m at this transitional stage of my life where, you know, I still feel like a young kid. I’m growin’ up a little bit however. And I wanted it to also, you know, the album that is, to follow that same theme sonically. So this is one of those songs. I feel like we’re kind of progressing the sound and I really love this song and shout out to Miranda for singing on it with me. I think it adds a whole new whole new flair to this song that wasn’t there before. So I hope y’all love it. It’s one of my favorites.”

“Used To Wish I Was”

Used To Wish I Was, Jonathan Singleton brought this to me in 2017. He had started this with one of his best friends, a guy named Deric Ruttan. And I was like, dude, I love this idea. So me and Jonathan finished the song. Just a song that I feel like, you know, when I heard it, I immediately was like, man, this is, this is great. This is me. I feel like, you know, this describes me, I feel like I’m hearing a bit of myself in this one. So shouts out to Jonathan and Deric for startin’ this thing. I don’t know if they had me in mind or not, but if they did, they got me hook, line, and sinker on that one. But yeah, just fun tune. There’s, you know, I tried so many things when I was a kid. It was like you want to try to find, you know, everybody wants to be, you know, NBA player or football player or astronaut, or, you know, whatever. And you spend the majority of your life trying to find your thing. And I think a lot of people never find it. So I’m thankful to have found mine at a decently early age. And once I did, it felt like, you know, I wasn’t chasing, like, what do I want to be? Or how am I going to do this? And I think that song speaks to this so well, and that’s something that I had, had went through myself for, you know, 21 some odd years. And, you know, once I finally found it, it was like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. So that’s that’s what this song is about.

“Better Back When”

Better Back When, I wrote it with Dan Isbell, Randy Montana and Ray Fulcher. Always had this kind of like uber specific memories of going to these big like Kenny Chesney, like stadium tour, shows, and it was always like this big party and we, you know, 20, 21, 22 years old and like, you’re having the time of your life. And you’re having a great time then but you don’t even realize how great of a time you’re having until a few years later. And that’s where the idea for this tune came from. And we just wanted to try to kind of make it fit into that, like, Never Wanted Nothing More like sonically speaking wanted it to really fit into that, like early 2000s, like mid 2000s Kenny Chensey thing that I think, you know, me and all my buddies kind of related to especially in college. And it’s just kind of sonically and lyrically everything that I remember about that time in my life. And you know, not saying that, that time is any better than the time that I’m in right now because I don’t think that it was. I just think that you remember those times as, I don’t know almost you put them on a pedestal for whatever reason. And I think this song speaks to that.”

“Tomorrow Me”

Tomorrow Me, I love this song. I wrote it with Dean Dillon, Ray Fulcher. Actually had got a call from, Ray had gotten a call from someone who worked with Dean and I guess he had asked to write with me and Ray. And we ended up, super long story on a plane to the Bahamas. And like had never spoken to Dean or met him before and he was just gonna kind of like be on this boat when we got there. And he was and we ended up writing a song with you know, one of our heroes band I mean, a guy who’s written you know, some of mine and probably a lot of y’all’s favorite country songs ever. And you know, I think Ray was going through some lady problems at the time and that’s where this idea came from was just that girl or that person that you feel like you can’t get away from.”

“Ain’t Far From It”

Ain’t Far From It. I wrote on the bus in West Point, Mississippi. I was on a hunting trip with Mossy Oak. I was with Dan Isbell, Reid Isbell, Ray Fulcher. And then my tour manager Ethan, who is not a writer of the song, but we were all hunting deer down there together. And I had told Dan, Reid and Ray that, like, man, I just feel like I’m missing something on this album sonically. And I’ve always loved like that 90s country like super high beats per minute, like Brooks and Dunn type thing. I guess kind of harkening back to like Honky Tonk Highway on the first album, those kinds of things. One Too Many that I did on What You See Is What You Get. And I just always love that thing, because I love doing a song like this live. And so really, we went onto the bus after dinner, one of those nights at deer camp with the idea to write a song like this, and that’s where it came from. Just about, you know, going out with your gal and whooping it up and looking forward to that all week. I know that that can probably be a really tired thing. I’m sure you’ve probably heard it a million times. This is my version of it. I do love this song and I can’t wait to play it for you live.”

“Call Me”

Call Me. Song I started in, gosh 2017, with Jonathan Singleton. And the first time I had ever wrote was Shane Minor. Me and Shane and Jonathan wrote Cold As You as well. And had just, this song fell in this weird spot like in between my first album, second album and the deluxe. Like it just kind of got lost in the shuffle. And some of my favorite songs that I’ve recorded have come like at the end of a studio session, we didn’t plan to do anything else. But we had an extra hour and go through and dig back through some old songs. And this is one of those songs that just kind of called you know, no pun intended, it kind of called out to me is one that I felt like we needed to do and take another look at. And I just love the feel of this one man. It feels like it kind of has that same energy from when I was writing. You know, This One’s For You album has that same feel melodically and sonically. And so I just love this one and I thought that you know, people would like to hear it and I hope y’all love it.”

“Middle Of Somewhere”

Middle Of Somewhere. Wrote this song in Montana with Randy [Montana] and Jonathan [Singleton]. And I just really love the place that, you know, me and my wife live now. And it’s just a place that I’ve talked to so many people here that are so proud to be from here. And it’s a place that so many people have probably never heard of, and even my friends, in you know, Nashville, we live almost an hour away from town. And people are like God, and you live in the middle of nowhere. And as I was talking to people here, you know, this idea popped in my head is like, people call this the middle of nowhere, but to the people that live here, it’s the middle of somewhere. And it’s such an important place to them. It’s such a huge part of their life. They were born here, and a lot of these people will be here for the rest of their lives. And it’s a place that means so much to them. So I feel like that middle of nowhere thing is just, it’s not that to everybody and I wanted to write that song for everyone that lives in a place like this, and especially for the people that live in the little town that I live in now.”

“Going, Going, Gone”

Going, Going Gone, I wrote with James McNair, and Ray Fulcher. I had honestly had that title on my phone for a really, really long time. And I just loved that riff so much. We were sitting there in the basement in Montana. And, you know, I just was messing around with guitar. And this same thing happened when we wrote What Memories Are Made Of, on This One’s For You. It was like, we were in this weird tuning back then. And I came up with this riff that turned into What Memories Are Made Of. Same thing happened with this one. We’re sitting there, we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to write. And we had decided we were going to write Going, Going, Gone. And as we sat there trying to come up with stuff, I was just playing this riff and the riff really became the focal point of the song for me. I’ve always loved Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and no way is this song even close to as good as that one. But I’ve always loved how that riff immediately, you know, the second it gets played, you know what song it is, and you love it. And I think I wanted to try to kind of, you know, create something that was my own version of that. This is my first time playing guitar on an album. I was super nervous to do that. Somehow I got it done. Shout out to Chip and Jonathan for helping me through that one. But this one’s really great. And one of my favorite songs, melodically and musically that we did on the on the whole record.”

Growin’ Up is available now HERE.

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