Luke Combs Calls ACM Awards Bluebird Cafe Performance ‘a Pretty Cool, Full-Circle Moment’
Luke Combs performed "Better Together" from the Bluebird Cafe during the 2020 ACM Awards on Wednesday night (Sept. 16) -- a fitting selection, as the newly married performer wrote it as a love song to his now-wife, Nicole Hocking.
Though the song is new to fans, Combs explained in the show's virtual press room that it isn't particularly new to Nicole. "She's heard that one," he says in response to a question about whether he wrote "Better Together" as a surprise wedding gift.
"I wrote that [song] in Boone, N.C., where I went to college. I usually do a little writing retreat up there every year, and we wrote that probably a year and a half ago ... My wife was there with me, and some of my co-writers. We started the song there and finished it back in Nashville," Combs clarifies.
Still, Combs adds, any song he gets to write about his wife is a special song.
"Nicole has been a constant theme throughout the last couple years of my life, in my music. She keeps me real grounded and provides constant inspiration for songs," he goes on to say. "I always try to pay a little bit of homage to her."
But there was another aspect of Combs' ACMs performance that, he reveals, made his time onstage particularly memorable. The night made him think back to the first time he ever set foot in the Bluebird Cafe.
"The first time that I was ever here was actually -- they do a benefit for the entire month of January," the singer recalls. "And me and one of the members of my band, Rob Williford, got the last two tickets. It was to see Jessi Alexander and Tom Douglas and Chris Stapleton and Daniel Wilson here in the round. We sat there and watched, and I remember thinking to myself, 'Man, we should probably move home, because we are totally not these people.'"
But then, a couple of years later, Combs found himself playing in that same round, surrounded by some of the collaborators who would go on to help him make his groundbreaking debut album, This One's for You.
"And I believe that I played "Even Though I'm Leaving" that night, which at the time was a completely unreleased song," he adds. "So that was pretty cool, full-circle moment as well."
The special moments kept coming for Combs over the course of the 2020 ACM Awards: He also brought home wins in the categories of Male Artist of the Year and Album of the Year (for What You See Is What You Get, his massively successful sophomore project).