Tanner Adell on the Meaning of Her Song ‘Luke Combs’ (Exclusive)

Tanner Adell on the Meaning of Her Song ‘Luke Combs’ (Exclusive)

Tanner Adell is one of country music’s rising stars, and one of her singles features a title that might turn some heads: “Luke Combs.” While you might assume the song is all about the country A-lister, but once you hear it, you’ll know it’s about something bigger. While chatting with Adell at the taping of the CBS TV special Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala in Nashville, we asked to lay out the inspiration for the track.

“Growing up, I always loved country music a lot, and, being a biracial girl, I didn’t hear a lot of lyrics that really described girls that looked like me,” Adell told us. “So that was my inspiration for this song, girls who just maybe don’t feel like they’re being represented in country music; whether it’s body image or certain insecurities that someone has or, for me, the color my skin. And so I wanted to write a song that made it feel like anybody could be the girl in a Luke Combs song.”

She was clear to note it wasn’t specific to Combs’ material. You can essentially replace him “with whoever you want,” but it’s about the desire “to be a girl in a country song.”

In honor of the CBS special, we also asked Tanner Adell to dish on her favorite Parton song. She went the deep cut “Applejack,” a banjo-heavy selection from the 1977 album New Harvest…First Gathering.

“That (song) is actually how I learned to play the banjo,” Adell said. “I listened to it, I watched her (Dolly) play it and then I’d play it again. So when I need a little pick me up, that’s what I blast in my house, and I just run around with my banjo and play it with her.”

How to Watch Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala

(Photo: Courtesy of Dolly Parton)

CBS will air Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala on Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. ET. CBS is viewable for free for anyone with a digital antenna (which you can purchase at retailers like Amazon and Walmart.) It’s also viewable via cable providers or livestream services such as Fubo TV. (Click here for a free trial.

The easiest way to stream Dolly Parton’s Pet Gala will be on Paramount+, which offers a CBS livestream as well as on-demand viewing afterward. Click here for free trial and subscription info.


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