Luke Combs press shot for his 2023 album 'Gettin' Old'
Jeremy Cowart

'Gettin' Old': A Track-by-Track Guide to Luke Combs' Nostalgic Change in Perspective


Nine months ago, Luke Combs' Growin' Up album hit stores and streaming services. Changes in Combs' life between the 2016 release of debut big-label single "Hurricane" and  the album's June 24, 2022 release flavor the lyrics. In particular, the singer-songwriter's adjustment from hungry, young artist to superstar with sold-out dates on the road and a spouse and baby at home informs such songs about appreciating the here-and-now as "Used to Wish I Was"-- though he left room for the light-hearted fare of the Brad Paisley-inspired "On the Other Line."

It felt safe enough to guess that Gettin' Old (out March 24) would bring more of what Marcus K. Dowling of the Tennessean labeled "suburban dad country music." However, Gettin' Old is less about digesting adulthood and more about the millennial exercise of grappling with being older than you feel. Memories of decades spent with family ("Take You With Me," "See Me Now"), years living in idyllic small towns ("Hannah Ford Road") and nights of carousing ("The Beer, the Band and the Barstool") are further behind us than it might seem, but really, that makes nostalgia all the more sweeter. Don't fret a lack of "suburban dad" energy, though, with album closer "The Part" resetting the high bar for a country radio trend.

Read on for a track-by-track breakdown of the latest chapter in the Combs legend.

1. "Growin' Up and Gettin' Old"

MERRITT, BC - AUGUST 03: Singer-songwriter Luke Combs performs on stage during day 2 of Rockin' River Music Festival 2018 on August 3, 2018 in Merritt, Canada.

Andrew Chin/Getty Images

A composite of Combs' two most recent album titles, this single continues Growin' Up's theme of Combs reflecting on his journey to becoming a 33-year-old spouse, father and country megastar. The lyrics tell of a rowdy friend who's settled down: "I can still raise hell all night with the boys when I want/ Lay that hammer down to see how fast she'll go. But these days I hang my hat on what I won't do/  I've been finding peace of mind slowing my roll/ Learn to toe that line with time as it goes/ In the middle of growing up and getting old." Listen here.


2. "Hannah Ford Road"

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 24: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs (C) performs onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 24, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Denise Truscello/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Our first freewheeling, live show-stopper checks off multiple country lyrical tropes -- young love, small town memories and gravel roads-- without sounding like a lazy rehash of any of Combs' musical reference points. Sonically, it's a great fit for the more rocking stretches of his setlist. Listen here.

3. "Back 40 Back"

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 07: Luke Combs (R) performs during Austin City Limits Festival at Zilker Park on October 7, 2017 in Austin, Texas.

Erika Goldring/WireImage

A slow-burner in the vein of Thomas Rhett's throwback material, "Back 40 Back" joins Lynyrd Skynyrd's "All I Can Do is Write About It," John Hartford's "Steamboat Whistle Blues" and others in the lineage of songs themed around what's lost when Main Street charm gives way to big box chains and expensive condos. Listen here.

4. "You Found Yours"

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 20: Singer Luke Combs performs prior to the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In the spirit of George Strait's "Love Without End, Amen" and Tim McGraw's "Don't Take the Girl," Combs charts an emotionally-charged timeline for his lead character. Examples of finding that feeling range from literal puppy love for a pit mix to a lifelong partnership with "an answer to an ole boy's prayer." In line with Combs' current situation, things come full circle when a comparable sense of fulfillment comes through the birth of a child. Listen here.

5. "The Beer, the Band and the Barstool"

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 07: Country artist Luke Combs performs at Bridgestone Arena on September 7, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Another song with King George vibes,"The Beer, the Band and the Barstool" paints a vivid picture of a dive that's known for dim lights, thick smoke and loud, loud music. Combs has all but pivoted from the beer-drinking stompers that brought him to the mainstream music dance. When he dips into that creative well now, it typically ends with selections with as much heart and maturity as this one. Listen here.


6. "Still"

Nicole Hocking and Luke Combs attend day 3 of The 49th CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium on June 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

Combs has a knack for co-writing adorable love songs that sound like instant hits and spring wedding playlist shoo-ins. It's presumably his wife Nicole --the known subject of several comparable songs from past albums-- whose love is "sweet as summer honeysuckles" and "true as the words written in red." Listen here.

7. "See Me Now"

Luke Combs performs at the Concerts for Conservation as a part of the Bass Pro Shops World's Fishing Fair in Springfield, Missouri on March 31, 2022 (

Kyle Rivas/Getty Images for Bass Pro Shops

One of Combs' most personal compositions to date imagines how his two late grandfathers might feel about their grandson's current professional and personal situations. His mom's dad, Grandpa Jim, died in 2011. His dad's dad, Pap Pap, passed away in 2011. Plus, it's a '90s throwback that's steered by pedal steel. Listen here.

8. "Joe"

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 24: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs performs onstage during the 2022 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 24, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Radio-friendly unit-shifter "Joe" turns drinking songs on their head by telling the tale of an average dude's victory over addiction. "I got a couple good buddies that all stop in / Say, 'It's good to see ya brother, man how you been?' I can't complain, I'm doin' alright / Sleepin' pretty good, staying dry. Thank the Lord every mornin' with a sweet amen / For how far I've come from, where I've been," goes Joe's prayer of thanks for sobriety. Listen here.

9. "A Song Was Born"

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 05: Recording Artist Luke Combs performs onstage during 8th Annual Darius and Friends concert at Ryman Auditorium on June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Davis/Getty Images

This boogie-woogie honky-tonker in the spirit of Brooks & Dunn relies on snapshots of how songs are born of real-life emotions. Examples of this range from Willie Nelson jotting down "On the Road Again's" lyrics on an airplane barf bag to Combs' experiences as a wordsmith in the Carolina mountains and in Nashville's writer rooms. Listen here.


10. "My Song Will Never Die"

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (L-R) Katherine Blasingame, Eric Church, Jon Pardi, Luke Combs and Nicole Hocking attend the 54th Annual CMA Awards at Music City Center on November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

"There's a beat coming from somewhere other than my chest" begins this love letter to the potential immortality of country hit. Past Combs collaborator Eric Church teamed with Travis Meadows and Jonathan Singleton to write this solemn yet triumphant realization that when an artist like Combs' "name ain't nothing more than just letters on a stone," his songs will never die. Throw in some of the best guitar arrangements on the album, and you've got a likely smash. Listen here.

11. "Where the Wild Things Are"

Luke Combs performs Onstage

Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images

Prolific Nashville songwriters Randy Montana and Dave Turnbill wrote this one, making it and "My Song Will Never Die" the only outside cuts --meaning first-time recordings its singer didn't have a hand in writing-- on any of Combs' albums. This tale of a rebellious older brother's escape from the monotony of hometown life is more a James Dean fantasy than a presumably semi-autobiographical look at Combs' past. Listen here.

12. "Love You Anyway"

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 08: Luke Combs performs during the 2017 Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival on June 8, 2017 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

A throwback that Randy Travis could've rode to the top of the charts during Combs' formative listening years, "Love You Anyway" recreates neo-traditional country charm while telling of a romantic spark so powerful that it's worth risking heartbreak. It's among Combs' best arguments that, in the immortal words of Greg Kihn Band, Music Row songwriters do indeed "write 'em like that anymore." Listen here.

13. "Take You With Me"

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 10: Luke Combs performs during the 55th Annual Country Music Association Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA

Combs spans a son's experiences with his father via a McGraw-esque narrative structure. Though it glances backward in line with the overall theme of Gettin' Old, its inclusion is clearly an of-the-moment creative decision influenced by the June 19, 2022 birth of his firstborn child, Tex. Listen here.


14. "Fast Car"

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: (FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs performs onstage during the The 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville's Music City Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA

Tracy Chapman's Grammy-winning folk-rock classic "Fast Car" has been among Combs' live set fan-favorites for a while now. Nearly 35 years later, its lyrics and arrangement suit the album like it's a fresh product of a Music Row songwriting session. Listen here.

"I think that was always the goal was just not to change it at all, really, in the sense of staying true to keeping it rooted in where it always was, I think was important," Combs told Zane Lowe on New Music Daily on Apple Music 1. "You know what I mean? Letting the riffs be kind of the star of the show. I mean, that's how the original track is."

15. "Tattoo on a Sunburn"

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 13: Country singer & songwriter Luke Combs performs to a sold out audience at Bridgestone Arena on December 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Like "Joe" and "Fast Car," this one's a longtime fan favorite that got recorded in a studio for the first time. It's about an ill-fated summertime fling that regretfully inspires a man to get a woman's name tattooed on his body. Though the ink eventually fades, memories sparked by her name linger. Listen here.

16. "5 Leaf Clover"

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 09: Luke Combs performs on the Chevrolet Cruze Park Stage at the 2016 CMA Music Fest on June 9, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Combs lists reasons to be cheerful on recent single "5 Leaf Clover." "How'd a guy like me, who could've wound up with weeds/ Wind up with a five-leaf clover?" goes the outro on one of the two-time defending CMA Entertainer of the Year's most moving first-person reflections about Growin' Up and Gettin' Old.


Combs dreamed up the concept while searching for an elusive four-leaf clover on his property during a visit from a friend. The singer did one better: plucking an even rarer five-leaf clover shortly after finding his desired treasure. It's a poignant analogy for a career and personal life that keeps getting better despite Combs already having pop culture acclaim and a fairytale home life. Listen here.

17. "Fox in the Henhouse"

NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 11: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Luke Combs performs during the 2017 CMA Music Festival on June 11, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

This blistering, bluesy swamper sounds like a missed opportunity for a vocal collaboration with Chris Stapleton or, better yet, the War and Treaty. There's always awards shows and digital-only b-sides for that, so fingers crossed. Better yet, Combs is clearly ready to front his own Southern rock outfit. Listen here.

18. "The Part"

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Combs' glance back at his younger days ends with this emotional take on the sacrifices made while hitting the road and living out of a Ford Econoline van. He sings about how partners in Nicole's spot "[come] in second place to plaques on walls and long highways" in this confessional about why it's not all wine and roses en route to country acclaim. It's honest-to-goodness country music, delivered straight from Combs' tender heart. Listen here.

READ MORE: Luke Combs Shares First Photo With Wife Nicole For Sweet Tribute