By Christos Kladeftiras
While country music is not the most-liked genre in certain parts of the country, Luke Combs has taken down a bit of that barrier by introducing a whole new audience to his music.
“What You See Is What You Get” is Luke Combs’ second studio album. Following the major success of his debut album, “This One’s for You,” which was No. 1 on the U.S. Top Country Albums chart for 50 weeks — a record for a male artist — his second album did surprisingly well in comparison.
Released on Nov. 8, 2019, “What You See Is What You Get” has gone Double Platinum, having over 2,000,000 certified sales by the end of 2020. Similar to Combs’ album before this, he released a deluxe album titled, “What You See Ain’t Always What You Get (Deluxe Edition)” with an additional six songs. One of those new songs was a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, named “Six Feet Apart.”
Combs has had great success with this album. Six of the songs in the entire deluxe album have been released as singles. The entire album and one song in particular — “Forever After All” — topped the charts in Rolling Stone for best song, album and artist in the same week. Luke Combs is the first country singer to accomplish this.
“What You See Is What You Get” was expected by country music critics and members of the industry to peak at No. 1 on the U.S. Top Country Albums chart. Not many would have expected the album to also peak at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, which is not limited to one genre.
Combs has many special moments on this album, such as his teaming up with the duo that inspired him to become a musician, Brooks and Dunn. In their song “Does To Me,” Combs collaborated with Eric Church, another big-name country artist who Combs has looked up to.
Another unique fact about this album is that Combs has co-written every song recorded and released. Ray Fulcher, who has co-written eight songs off the first album and eight more off the second, spoke to Rolling Stone about his experience writing with Luke Combs.
“We said let’s be honest about the songs we’re writing, and let them represent us as people and then see where the chips fall. Luckily, the country music audience was starved for an artist like Luke,” said Fulcher. He has known and been friends with Combs since 2014. The two have worked together ever since.
With this newfound fame in country music and with many country music singers dipping their toes into pop music, The Boot reached out to Combs about the possibility of him entering another genre. “It’s definitely not something that I sit down in a writing room and go, ‘Could this work on pop radio?’ I really just want my fans to love it and come see it live, and have that experience,” Combs said. “That, to me, is the most important thing, making sure the music is good.”
With the landscape of music changing and artists branching into different genres, Luke Combs has expanded his horizons and allowed country music to reach a wider audience in the country.