Luke Bryan seems to take things in stride - even early morning phone interviews.

"We'll survive," he said cheerfully.

Maybe it was a strong cup of coffee, but Bryan had nothing to complain about as he prepared for a New York State Fair concert date with his friend Jason Aldean on the last day of August.

"Jason has the best tour," Bryan said. "He has a good time. It's a big old party."

But the country singers have a more relaxing pre-show ritual.

"Nothing's better (than) to be outside on a good day and taking in the outdoors and fishing," Bryan said.

He'll be scouting out fishing holes when he's in the area next week for the York Fair. Tuesday will mark Bryan's first headlining grandstand show. In 2007, he performed on WGTY's Great Country Radio Stage.

"We know it's a big crowd and a big venue," Bryan said of the grandstand. "(I'm) ready to see all the fans. We try to have a great time and keep it really loose and unpredictable. Half the time, I don't know what (I'm going) to do on stage."

As farm boy from Leesburg, Ga., fairs and horse shows were part of Bryan's upbringing. But down South, grandstands aren't as common as they are at fairs up North, he said.

He'll get back to his roots next month during his fourth annual Farm Tour, which includes eight concerts through Southern states. Proceeds go to college scholarships for students from farming families.

"I'm from an agriculture background," Bryan said.


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"I thought it would be cool one day if I have a big old stage in the middle of a field. In small towns, that's the biggest thing happening."

Bryan attended Georgia Southern University. He was able to translate those times into hit singles "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)," "Drunk on You" and "I Don't Want This Night to End" from his 2011 album "Tailgates &

Tanlines." Each March, he releases an EP of songs with a "Spring Break" title.

Even though Bryan's tunes are made for partying and road tripping, his agenda on tour is a balance between work and play.

"You kind of get your little comfort zone," he said. "You work out and try to write some songs and do some business."

That involves an appearance this week on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and a Sept. 17 hosting gig for the ABC special "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock." In November, Bryan said he'll head back into the studio to record a new album.

Sure, he said, he gets jitters from time to time, but that's part of the job. He said guys like Kenny Chesney and Trace Adkins inspire him and provide guidance on how to navigate a country career. So maybe that - not caffeine - is what gives Bryan his easygoing confidence.

- ERIN McCRACKEN,
FlipSide staff

Grandstand Line-up

7 p.m. Saturday: R5 with opener Shane Harper; $10

7:30 p.m. Tuesday: Luke Bryan with opener Easton Corbin; $34 and $39

7:30 p.m. Wednesday: Blake Shelton with opener Sunny Sweeney; $49 and $56

7:30 p.m. Sept. 13: REO Speedwagon; $32 and $37

7:30 p.m. Sept. 14: Jeff Dunham; $44 and $49

7 p.m. Sept. 15: Allstar Weekend with opener New Hollow; $24 and $29

For details, visit www.yorkfair.org/grandstand.htm.

Bryan lets loose

On fair food: "We try to stay away from the fair food these days," he said with a laugh. "Corn dogs and cheese curds still find their way onto the bus."

On football: "I'm a big (University of) Georgia Bulldogs fan," he said. "We get a little crazy. When Georgia plays, I'm in front of the TV. Every game is a big game."

On his sons: Bryan has two young sons, Bo and Tate, with his wife, Caroline. "They are all immersed in music," he said of his sons. "They play the drums and they love (it)."

More fair coverage

Meet one of the Great Country Radio Stage performers from this year.

Poll: What are you most looking forward to at the fair?

Who played at the fair the year you were born?