While visiting The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon in May for the live television debut of "Beer Never Broke My Heart," Luke Combs and a couple of bandmates cut a loose rendition of "Ramblin' Man." It's The Allman Brothers Band's calling card from 1973, not Waylon Jennings' earlier song "I'm a Ramblin' Man"-- although Combs just happens to be wearing a Jennings "flying W" t-shirt instead of his usual PFG (performance fishing gear) top.
The husky drawl that's taken over commercial airwaves suitably replaces Dickey Betts' nasal twang as Combs sings along to acoustic accompaniment. Kurt Ozan's performance on mandolin is a nice touch, making the song sound more like a back porch picking session at the Allmans' Big House than the sorts of electrified performances that gave birth to jam bands.
It's not the first proof that Combs excels when interpreting the classics. In addition to holding his own while singing "Brand New Man" with Brooks & Dunn, Combs has covered songs ranging from Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" to Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" and Ed Sheeran's "Dive."
The cover hit the internet at a busy time for Combs. "Beer Never Broke My Heart" maintains momentum as a summer hit, festival season is right around the corner and he's got a new five-song EP, The Prequel, out this Fri., June 7. As importantly, his custom pair of Crocs is available this week at Nashville's CMA Fest.