Luke Combs Once Called In A Huge Favor To Get Into An Eric Church Show At Coyote Joe’s After A Car Accident Delayed His Arrival

Luke Combs country music
Apple Music

Luke Combs sells out stadiums these days, and he’s come a long way from where he first started playing small bars in his college town of Boone, North Carolina.

He returned to his hometown honky tonk of Coyote’s Joes in Charlotte for a special show last month, and sat down with Kelleigh Bannen for her Apple Music Country podcast ahead of the show to talk about what it meant to him to be back at the venue that shaped his early music career.

And of course, they had to talk about the time in 2014 when Luke saw his musical hero, Eric Church, at a show there. Luke has shared before how special that night was to him, and in the photo he posted on Instagram, you can see Luke front and center watching Eric perform:

I’ve always thought it was such a cool picture, and figured there had to be a pretty great story behind it for Luke to have been that close at a sold out show like that one was.

He recalled the day very clearly, saying the concert took place on Valentine’s Day around the time Eric released The Outsiders:

“I saw Eric Church here in 2014. Valentine’s Day. I was the literal first person in here.”

He had the best spot in the house that night, but almost didn’t even make it in. Thankfully, Luke knew the right people, and his mom’s cousin Rick was a bartender at Coyote Joe’s at the time:

“My mom’s cousin, Rick, used to work here at the bar. And so Church did a, this was when ‘The Outsiders’ was coming out, so I rode down here with a friend of mine from college.”

But about halfway there, Luke and his friend got in a car accident, which delayed their whole plan of getting there early:

“And so actually ended up getting in a car accident on the way to the show. So, like, probably in Hickory somewhere, a little over halfway from Boone to here, got that sorted out.

It wasn’t, like, bad, but enough to where the police had to come.”

Seeing as everyone was okay after the wreck, Luke’s biggest concern at that point was still just getting to the show despite the literal bump in the road:

“That was my biggest concern at that point. We got here, and the line was just super long, and I was like, we’re not gonna get in, you know.

So I was like I’m gonna be that guy that like, calls my mom’s cousin Rick, you know?”

I mean, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, right?

I certainly would’ve done the same thing to get in and see Chief there if I were Luke…

“I’m like, ‘Second cousin Rick, listen, we’re homies. We go way back.’ So I called him, I’m like, ‘Hey man, what’s the deal on this thing, dude?’ He’s like ‘Man, this is a tough ask, dude, I don’t know.’

Because there was like three or four thousand people waiting in line. It wasn’t like they were gonna sneak us in the back, ‘cuz there was nowhere else to get in except the front door.

And so I’m thinking like, there’s no way. We get all the way down here, got in a car accident, not gonna make it. Not gonna get in.”

But about 15 minutes before the doors opened, Rick called Luke back and got him in before anyone else even stepped foot in the building:

“And so I got a call from him maybe 15 minutes before doors opened. So the radio winners were gonna get in 10 minutes before doors, come in and get drinks or whatever.

So Rick was like, ‘Come on, dude.’ So I was the first person in here.

And Rick went over to the bar and I bought like five drinks from him over there, and I stood right there in the middle the whole time.”

Second cousin Rick sounds about as real as they come…

And as you probably read in the caption of the aforementioned photo of Luke that night, it was a turning point for him that really inspired him to pursue a legitimate career in country music.

It was also a solo acoustic Eric show, which I’m sure was absolutely incredible to see in and of itself.

Luke added that he was in full-on fan girl mode that night watching Eric front and center, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been there myself with a few other artists at that venue… so I really do get it, Luke:

“I was a woo-girl that night… I was in the Church choir.”

During that particular show, Eric was the guy in country, and with the success of both Chief and The Outsiders, no one else could touch him:

“There’s a certain point in everyone’s career that reaches a certain level, like for a while, you’re just white hot. Everything you touch is like, gold. It doesn’t matter what the song is, what you’re wearing.

People are just into it. Just absolutely on fire, and I think that was his first album since Chief, and so he was in that moment. And so that made it even more…

I mean, he’s already so great by himself, and he holds the audience so well, but that being in that specific moment.”

Luke has since become pretty close friends with Eric, and he actually got some advice from him at his house while they were absolutely shit-faced drunk about how to go about handling his career, as Luke is currently in that exact stage right now.

Eric remembered the evening well, which came at such a hot part of his career, and told Luke that the most important thing is to figure out how to sustain everything over decades:

“And actually, it’s funny, the crazy thing for me, he was the person that told me that later on. So later on I’m at one of my hero’s house, and he is telling me the exact thing I’m telling you right now.

‘Hey man, there’s a moment in everybody’s career that’s like, you can just do anything. You can just do it all, pretty much. And then you have to figure out how to survive after that.”

I mean, 13 consecutive #1’s is pretty damn impressive, to say the least, and I don’t see any signs of Luke slowing down anytime soon, but I’m sure that advice from Chief will certainly come in handy one day.

It was super full-circle to have Luke back for this show at my all-time favorite venue, and I was lucky enough to get to be at the show in person, and you’re gonna want to make sure you check out the whole Apple Music Live concert performance this evening at 7:00p PST.

You can also catch part of his interview with Kelleigh here:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock