LEESBURG, Ga. -- There will be no local in-store appearance by Luke Bryan as there was for his "Doin' My Thing" release two years ago, but that's not expected to keep Southwest Georgia country music fans from lining up at music outlets today to get their copy of Bryan's third album, "tailgates & tanlines."
With the first single from that album, "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)," co-written by Leesburg's Bryan and Albany's Dallas Davidson, one of country music's go-to tunesmiths, already burning up country radio and the Web, "tailgates" is expected to be an even bigger hit than Bryan's Gold-certified sophomore album.
"I'm really proud that I've got some meatier things on this album," Bryan said of the Capital Records Nashville release. "Nothing is more frustrating to me than putting a song on an album and regretting putting it on there. I'm excited that there are no songs on 'tailgates & tanlines' that I'm iffy about."
Representatives of local music outlets say they're expecting a significant uptick in traffic from area fans looking to pick up Bryan's latest.
"I'm actually putting up the display with Luke's CDs now," Albany Mall FYE outlet assistant manager Tim Eddins said Monday. "There's been a lot of excitement building around the album. We've been taking reservations for the album from fans who want to make sure they get a copy. They're putting down $3, and we're holding a copy for them at the front desk.
"We've got quite a few copies of the album already, and we've got more on the way. We should have enough to go around for all the Luke Bryan fans."
An employee in the electronics department at the local Target store said she expects a great deal of local interest in the Bryan album as well.
"We've had some people come in today looking to get a copy of (Bryan's) album," electronics team leader Yvonne White said Monday. "We told them to come back tomorrow.
"The number of albums we get by each artist is controlled by our home office, but if we see there is a bigger demand than expected, we're able to put in a request for additional copies. The folks at the home office usually take into account something like interest in a local artist."
Bryan left Southwest Georgia for Nashville in 2007 and has made a huge splash in Music City. His debut album, "I'll Stay Me," included Top 10 hits "All My Friends Say" and "Country Man," while "Doin' My Thing" included three No. 1 hits: "Do I," "Someone Else Calling You Baby" and "Rain Is a Good Thing."
The homegrown singer everyone in these parts calls simply Luke claimed last year's Academy of Country Music Top New Male and Top New Artist awards, which were voted on by country music fans. He was also named USA Weekend's Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
"It's a big fun ride for everybody," Bryan said of the success he's sharing with his family, which includes wife Caroline and sons Bo and Tate. "My wife and I are enjoying life more than ever.
"I have never wanted to grow fast in this business. I have always wanted to take my time, make it happen and be smart about it. I've been lucky; all that stuff is happening."
And that's just fine with Southwest Georgia fans who are along for the ride.