Luke Bryan Apologizes to Waylon Jennings’ Widow, Jessi Colter, for “Outlaw Country” Comments

Capitol Nashville

Luke Bryan has reached out to Waylon Jennings‘ widow, Jessi Colter, and apologized for remarks he made involving her late husband in a recent interview with HITS Daily Double. In that interview, Luke talked about being a part of today’s country music scene and moving the format forward.

He said, “I think that people who want Merle, Willie and Waylon just need to buy Merle, Willie and Waylon. I’ve never been a ‘Those were the good old days’ kind of guy. I’m not big on looking back on the past. I’m not an outlaw country singer.”

The part that really ruffled some feathers came next as he added, “I don’t do cocaine and run around. So I’m not going to sing outlaw country. I like to hunt, fish, ride around on my farm, build a big bonfire and drink some beers—and that’s what I sing about. It’s what I know. I don’t know about laying in the gutter, strung out on drugs. I don’t really want to do that.”

Waylon Jennings’ daughter-in-law, Kathy Pinkerman Jennings, posted a YouTube video denouncing Luke’s choice of words, and several media outlets painted Luke as disrespecting country legends.

Luke released a statement via Twitter Friday saying, “I would never speak against any artist. It’s not my style. I consider Willie, Waylon and Merle musical heroes. I was trying to state what I was about and where I come from with my music. It’s as simple as that.”

After posting that message on Twitter, Luke personally called Jessi on Monday to apologize. Her son with Waylon, Shooter Jennings, told the Los Angeles Times, “Luke Bryan called my mom today to clarify that he would never disrespect my dad or me or any of us. He also asked for Buddy’s number to call Kathy. Whether or not he does, that takes a lot of guts. I misfired and said some things in the past about people, namely John Mayer. And I didn’t have the guts to apologize. So, that being said, that kinda won me over.”

Shooter added that he and his mom and dad have never believed in keeping music from evolving with difference influences. He says, “I love Kathy for her defense of the family and caring so much for the legacy. But as my mom says, [some] people out there want things the way it WAS and nothing else. I’m not defending pop music but I am defending new music. My dad never liked labels and neither do I.”

Reading those words from Shooter in the Los Angeles Times was a relief for Luke. He tells The Tennessean, “That was the first time in this I felt like I could take a breath.”

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