It’s been a great year for Bryan

Without a doubt, it’s been a great year for Lee County’s Luke Bryan.

If there’s anyone more popular with country music fans these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find him or her.

Earlier this week, Bryan punctuated that fact when he not only opened the show for the American Country Awards, he made a clean sweep of winning every category in which he was nominated.

Those wins included artist of the year and album of the year. “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” which has been a huge hit for him, was single and music video of the year.

What makes this particularly special is these awards were determined by the fans — the very folks who buy the music that artists like Bryan produce and who buy the tickets to see him perform. While it’s always great to be recognized by your peers, being recognized by the people who are spending their hard-earned cash to see you and hear your work is particularly gratifying.

And it was clear that Bryan was touched by the outpouring from his fans.

“Mama, daddy, (Jason) Aldean, thank you for a great year, baby,” he said as he accepted artist of the year at the end of the show. “They’re saying wrap (up), but I don’t want to wrap.”

That was his ninth award of the night, including two that were radio awards that weren’t voted on by fans. If there was any question as to whether Bryan has crossed that magical boundry to superstardom, this event should have answered it.

And while he didn’t want the night to end, the same might be said of 2012, which has been a tremendous year for him as he toured with Aldean, who won touring artist of the year.

But time moves forward and 2013 is coming. And for Bryan, we’re expecting even more great things to come.