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Ever thought about that makes you “country,” country music fans?

Because we all know you don’t have to be from the south to be “country.” It’s a state of mind, not an actual state … and Luke Bryan is out to prove we’ve all got a little bit of country in us.


In a new video series that shares its name with that of his upcoming album, “What Makes You Country,” Luke’s fans and friends talk to the camera about what being country means to them.

For so many of these fans, it’s about childhood memories of swimming in ponds, being close to family, kindness, looking out for your neighbor and a sense of community.

And of course, back roads and beer are also a big part of it for some, too.

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But some of the Luke fans in these videos are faces you’ll recognize.

The star goalie for the Nashville Predators hockey team, Pekka Rinne, may be from Finland, but he’s country, too.

“I’m country because I love fishing, the outdoors and hiking,” Pekka says.

Darius Rucker chimes in too, saying his “Carolina roots” make him country.

Kelly Clarkson has soul, but she’s definitely country. Her Texas roots make her a country girl at heart, and she also loves “a lot of land.”

Even Luke’s buddy and “American Idol” co-judge Lionel Richie laid claim to his country qualities, telling the camera he’s a country man because he was born and raised in Alabama. He has also collaborated with so many country stars over the years that he’s practically in our genre!

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But the coolest tidbit we learned came from “Good Morning America” host and country fan Robin Roberts, who grew up in the great state of Mississippi. Did you know Robin was a country music DJ earlier in her career? That explains why she loves it so much. We bet she was phenomenal on the radio.

You can share your own story in a video with the hashtag #whatmakesyoucountry for the chance to be included in an upcoming video from Luke!

Luke is now nominated for Male Artist of the Year, Tour of the Year and Fan Moment of the Year in the Rare Country Awards, and it’s up to you to decide the winners. Cast your votes at RareCountryAwards.com through Dec. 13. Winners will be revealed during a livestreamed concert event on Dec. 14 in Nashville.

Luke Bryan finds out what makes his friends country Photo by Wade Payne/Invision/AP
Samantha Stephens absolutely lives for music. When she's not making it, she's talking or writing about it. She's worked in all arenas of the country music world for nearly a decade, from syndicated radio and television to print journalism. She's even been known to crash a red carpet or two, true story.
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