View the original article at: http://www.countryweekly.com/magazine/vault/2012-year-review-luke-bryan
The only thing brighter than Luke Bryan’s stellar 2012 is his own gleaming smile when he talks about the past 12 months. “I’ve been so blessed because year after year it seems that my years keep getting better,” he tells Country Weekly. “To be out with Jason Aldean all year and to play such high-profile shows, it’s definitely been the year of my life. And just to grow as an artist and [to have] grown my fan base is truly amazing. I don’t even think I can describe it.”
Grown is right. Luke scored his first platinum album with Tailgates & Tanlines, which has also earned him three No. 1 singles: “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Drunk on You” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” His annual Farm Tour—the regional headlining run that raises money for agricultural scholarships throughout the Southeast—brought in record numbers, including 16,000 who attended the final show in Macon, Ga., and doubled in attendance overall. And he and his tourmate and hunting buddy Jason Aldean have further branded their image by aligning with the popular Duck Dynasty family’s Buck Commander deer division.
Now five years into his recording career, Luke is preparing for his first headlining run with next year’s Dirt Road Diaries Tour, starting Jan. 17. To him, it’s perfect timing. “I think the worst thing you can ever do is jump the gun on headlining. We knew by going out with Jason that it would put another stake in the ground at being ready to headline this year,” he says. “We know it’s time.”
But it isn’t just professional growth Luke has experienced in 2012. He’s now a landowner, too, he reveals.
“I bought a farm this year and it’s going to be where we build our house,” he says excitedly. “I always dreamed of having a farm environment for my boys to grow up on and we got lucky and found it.”
While his entire career, starting from his early days as a songwriter, has been an evolution, Luke looks forward to continuing to deliver his best to his fans. “With each year that I’m in this business, I learn a little bit more about me as an artist,” Luke explains. “I’ve always been really lucky and not rushed stuff in my career. And I think, as I take my time, the better I get at knowing what my fans want and knowing who I am as an artist.”