Asked what makes country singer Luke Bryan so popular, Dave Michaels has an easy answer.
“The girls like it when he shakes his butt.”
Michaels, the interim operations manager for country radio station WQHK, K105-FM, added, “He's good-looking, he's got a great smile and he's personable.”
Bryan is headlining the “Dirt Road Diaries Tour,” bringing with him Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line to the Memorial Coliseum on Thursday.
The country hottie has come a long way since K105 brought him to Fort Wayne in 2007, when he played a Fourth of July show at IPFW in conjunction with the fireworks.
Michaels said the station realized back then Bryan “was somebody to keep an eye on. He had stage presence. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hands.”
He came back to Fort Wayne in 2008 for CountryFest, in 2010 with headliner Jason Aldean, and has played at the Neon Armadillo several times.
When he came back last May with Aldean's My Kinda Party tour, the concert was the fastest sellout in Memorial Coliseum's 61-year history.
But good looks can only take you so far. Michaels describes Bryan as “the new generation of country” — a little bit of country and a lot of rock 'n' roll.
In general, country is moving away from the twang. “Realistically country's always been about the lyrics anyway,” Michaels said.
And Bryan's songs lean toward good times, pretty girls and summer nights.
“Girl, you make my speakers go boom boom/Dancin' on the tailgate in a full moon.” — from the song “Drunk on You.”
And trucks. Because what's a country song without a truck?
“You got your hands up/You're rocking in my truck/You got the radio on/You're singing every song.” —from the song “Don't Want this Night to End.”
And we did mention girls, didn't we? Because he is the guy who co-wrote “Country Girl (Shake it for Me).”
It's a sure bet many girls have daydreamed about being the object of his affections in these songs.
He may be eye candy for the girls, but the songs about drinkin', dancin' and hangin' out in a pickup seem to resonate with the guys, too.
There's only one catch, and this one only affects the ladies. He's married with two sons.