Music

Luke Combs Talks Eric Church, Early Career Rejection With Stone Cold Steve Austin

The season two premiere of Straight Up Steve Austin aired Jan. 11 on the USA Network and co-starred country music superstar Luke Combs.

WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin's talk show teams him with fellow celebrities for in-depth interviews and the sorts of outdoor fun you'd expect from a wrestler once billed as the Bionic Redneck.

Before Austin and Combs' muddy joyride, Combs explained how Eric Church's gritty, story-driven approach shifted the "Beer Never Broke My Heart" singer's perspective on current Nashville stars.

"I think the reason myself and my parents stopped listening to country music at that time, it wasn't at that moment in time as relatable," Combs said in a sneak peek clip of the TV show's second season. "A lot of guys got heavy into the beach, it was getting more poppy sounding at that time. And not to say I'm Merle Haggard, because I'm not, I'm not claiming to be that either but that was the big shift. When I got to Appalachian State, a guy that lived on my floor brought in an Eric Church CD and said hey this guy went to college here, you should check him out and once I heard Eric I was like, this is something I can relate to and if he can do that and he's from here, and I'm from here, I can do that. And that's kind of where the fire caught spark for lack of a better term."

Combs also told the story of when a BMI mover-and-shaker turned down not just one but four future No. 1's: "Hurricane," "When It Rains It Pours," "She Got the Best of Me" and "One Number Away."

"This person was like, 'I don't think you are ever going to be an artist and I think you need to write better songs' ... and I was okay with that," Combs recalled. "It made me hungrier to go, 'OK, I do need to go out and get better and I do need to write better songs.'"

Like many children of the '90s, Combs fondly remembers watching Stone Cold and fellow country music fans The Rock and Mick Foley on the USA Network's flagship show, Monday Night Raw.

"I grew up a Stone Cold fan," Combs told People. "To be able to spend some quality time with him was something I could have never imagined. We had some downtime where we shared some stories and got to know each other on a personal level which was pretty awesome to me."

Read More: Loretta Lynn Pays Tribute to 'American Icon' Betty White: 'An Inspiration to All Us Young Girls'

Other guests on Straight Up Steve Austin have included rapper and actor Ice-T and country singer Trace Adkins. Future episodes of Austin's interview series team him with fellow wrestler Charlotte Flair (the daughter of Ric Flair), actor Tiffany Haddish, actor and host Joel McHale, NFL legend Brett Favre, standup comedian Bert Kreischer and Jackass' Steve-O.

The new season airs on Monday nights right after Raw at 11 p.m. EST.

Amazon

Now Watch: Dolly Parton's Siblings: Then and Now

recommended for you

Luke Combs Talks Eric Church, Early Career Rejection With Stone Cold Steve Austin