There’s a little bar in North Carolina that Eric Church played in February 2014, right after he’d released his album The Outsiders. And there was a fan from his alma mater — Appalachian State University — at the Coyote Joe’s show that night, in the front row, deciding it was about time to move west to Nashville. Someone was taking pictures from the side of the stage, and happened to capture Luke Combs in an Eric Church t-shirt, and in awe of whatever Church was singing. “Thought this was a really cool photo to share. This was taken on February 14th, 2014, almost exactly 4 years ago to the date. That guy on the right had just released his 4th record and man was it good,” Combs wrote to explain the Instagram picture.
“That kid on the far left… that’s me. “A kid with a dream and a hell of a lot of inspiration from that guy on the right. Hard to believe it’s only been 4 years, it seems like a lifetime ago, and in many ways it was but that show lit a fire under my ass. That’s the day the kid you see on the left KNEW that he wanted to do what that guy on the right was doing. Thanks for the inspiration, Chief.”
In the four years since Combs saw that Church show, he has gone on to release three EPs, and then ultimately, a major label studio album This One’s For You. The three singles he’s released from that album so far — “Hurricane,” “When It Rains It Pours” and “One Number Away” — have all made it to the top of the charts. But before Combs took off for Nashville, he’d paid his dues throughout his college years, singing and songwriting around North Carolina. He even told his college newspaper that he’d gone two rounds on The Voice. Combs also shared his post-college career plan. “Full-time music for as long as I can survive,” he’d said.