Inspired by His Connection With Luke Bryan on American Idol, Ethan Payne Releases New Song “Luke’s Guitar”

By Aaron Wagner

If you’re an American Idol fan you may recognize Ethan Payne from a year ago. Chances are even if you’re not, you saw his viral moment on the show.

Take a look:

Ethan took that moment (and Luke’s guitar) and ran with it. Fast forward to a year later and Ethan recently released a new song inspired by those events called “Luke’s Guitar.” It’s such a great song lyrically and you get an idea as to how much those moments meant to Ethan and his musical journey.

Ethan was gracious enough to talk with Raised On It about “Luke’s Guitar” and what the song means to him.


When did you know you were going to write a song about that moment and about the guitar from Luke?

Well, I had asked myself several times what can I do to show Luke how much he has done for me.  I was sitting and strumming the guitar he gifted trying to come up with a hook for a new song one night and I realized at that moment that the best gift I could ever give him was to tell him how I feel.  As a songwriter, we tend to tell our feelings in the lyrics of a song.  So I decided that my first write in Nashville would be to write a song to show Luke how that one selfless act made such an impact on my life.  

What was the songwriting process like? Did things flow really naturally and pretty quickly or were you wanting to perfect and revise every little detail? 

The songwriting process I feel flowed very easily.  Jon D’Agostino, Michael August, and I spent about 4 to 5 hours together that day in October 2019. I wanted this song to be as perfect. I knew what it meant for me and what it would eventually mean for Luke.

You detail it in the song, but what does that guitar mean to you? 

Luke’s Guitar is like my best friend. When I’m feeling stressed or going through things, I can pick up that guitar and everything seem to go away. The lyrics of the song are very detailed on how “it saves my hopeless heart.” Luke’s guitar gives me hope with my health and music career.

What emotions or feelings do you want your fans and listeners to experience when listening to this song? 

I want my fans to feel the emotion I feel when I pick up that guitar. Imagine the times we all feel hopeless and we’re “hanging on by the last string.” This guitar saves me. I feel like the lyrics and production complement each other in portraying the relationship between Luke’s guitar and myself.

Did you share the song with Luke prior to releasing it? What was his reaction? 

I actually reached out to Kerri Edwards, Luke’s manager about the song. I wanted to surprise him with it. It was personal between him and I. I knew I had to get it to him before I shared it with the fans.  

One afternoon about a month or so ago I was just sitting down to eat dinner and my phone rang. It was FaceTime actually! It was a Nashville number, so I answered it. It was Kerri. I stepped outside the restaurant to talk with her. All of a sudden Luke gets on the phone. He told me that if he thought a song like that would come from that guitar he would’ve given me 100. It was an emotional moment for us.

Anything else we should know about you, the song, or upcoming projects? 

We plan on shooting a video for the song as soon as this COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and we are allowed to. We are working on a stripped-down version of Luke’s guitar that we may release soon.  Also, I will be releasing the 12 song album here in the next few weeks. The album Makin’ A Scene will include “Luke’s Guitar” and several more originals. I am excited to share my music with all my fans. 

My fans can follow me on Instagram @ethanpaynemusic, on Twitter (Ethan Payne Music), and Facebook (Ethan Payne). Also, you can text ETHAN to 33222 for updates on song/album release dates and upcoming shows.