A few days ago, Luke Combs flew a private plane to Stagecoach. In a few more days, he’ll release his next top five Hot Country Songs hit, “Beer Never Broke My Heart.” And tonight he’ll learn that he has won three Billboard Music Awards. Right now, though, he just wants to show me where he shot a turkey.
On this sticky-hot morning an hour west of Nashville, the 29-year-old country star is maneuvering his red Polaris off-roader down a muddy path on his vast, 140-acre plot of land. “We got four birds on that stand in the last month,” boasts Combs in his relaxed North Carolina drawl as he slows down and points to the perch where he was hunting with his buddies not long ago. “Even if you don’t catch anything, it’s still the best time ever. You drink coffee and watch the sun rise. That’s my favorite thing about being out here.”
Behind the wheel in khaki shorts, a light blue UNC shirt and flip-flops, the Asheville native looks more like a guy who just rolled by for beer and wings than a megastar in the midst of a sold-out, 60-plus-date arena tour. And in fact, it wasn’t long ago that Combs was living in a Nashville apartment, scraping together enough cash to master his first single, “Hurricane.” But in the past three years, the pace of Combs’ career has accelerated to warp speed: He has scored five No. 1 singles and a No. 1 country album, This One’s for You, while his twice-platinum ballad “Beautiful Crazy” just spent seven straight weeks ruling Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. In March, he topped all five of the Billboard country charts simultaneously. And in December, he’ll headline Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, where he could have added a second night had the NHL been willing to move a pesky hockey game.