Country singer Harry Luge calls himself a “simple person” who has played honkytonk dive bars with dirt parking lots for most of his career.
Things are about to change.
On October 27, the Scottsdale native released his first major-label single, the playful “Drunk in My Drink,” which is bound to be a show staple. He is plotting dates around the United States to promote the single and a forthcoming album.
“My music is real country music,” Luge says over drinks at Starbucks, with a trucker hat pulled low. “Nothing against the music out there, but there’s a market out there for the music we care about a lot. I grew up listening to Chris Ledoux, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn—anything from the 1980s or 1990s.
“That music really struck me.”
However, country music is in his genes. His father, the late Harry Sr., developed Canyon Moon Ranch, the location of Country Thunder, as well as Rooster’s in Mesa. Luge the younger has been dubbed “Country Thunder ambassador.”
“I grew up in that location,” says Luge, of Rooster’s. “That’s where I honed my songwriting skills. It’s a really neat thing. My wife and I travel back and forth to Nashville. These awesome opportunities keep coming up. We’re taking advantage of them as best we can.”
Luge had no interest in being a cowboy when he was younger. He was into Skateland and sports.
“When country music started to get involved, it moved me in a way that was awesome,” he says. “Country music is about honesty, truth, heartache and happiness. Also, faith is a big part of country music.”
Luge is more than five albums in. He recorded “Drunk in My Drink” with producer Dennis Money. Throughout each release, one thing has been consistent.
“I’ve always tried to tell true stories and write songs that relate to me or something I’ve seen,” he says. “But the most important thing is we have fun. We have a grassroots army. They’re all friends. You won’t catch me calling them ‘fans.’ They’re ‘friends.’
“Every time we have an opportunity to shake someone’s hand—that kind of stuff doesn’t have a price.”
He means everyone, too. He and his wife, Tara, have a home in Queen Creek and one in Nashville, so they can network. (He calls Tara the “brains” behind the operation.) Luge is just trying to make friends.
“This is a whole new game for me,” he says. “I’ve been playing honkytonks, fairs and festivals my whole life. I’m learning how to record and what goes on with that. Sure, there have been other albums. Sure, there have been other things. But as you continue to grow, you want to get better. Learning more and more is always the key. I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors.”
From the fellow musicians and producers, Luge has learned that there is a market for traditional country music.
“We’re not trying to be something we’re not,” he says. “We’re just trying to keep it real. We say a prayer and the pledge before every show, just to show appreciation for our country and our faith—and to have fun. Honkytonking is about dancing and having fun.
“It’s so amazing that people are digging something we’re doing,” Luge says. “I’m not too proud to say I shed some tears.”
Harry Luge, the Busch Garage Stage at Phoenix International Raceway, 7602 S. Avondale Boulevard, Avondale, 623.463.5400, phoenixraceway.com, 9 p.m. Friday, November 10, call for ticket information.
For other Harry Luge shows, visit harrylugemusic.com.