Luke Bryan is the biggest star in country music today, but he was just another young hopeful looking for a break when he released his debut album, I'll Stay Me, on Aug. 14, 2007.

Bryan was already a well-regarded songwriter in Nashville, having written songs for Travis Tritt and Billy Currington, who scored a No.1 hit with "Good Directions." He signed with Capitol Nashville in 2007 and worked with producer Jeff Stevens on I'll Stay Me, which featured Bryan co-writing 10 of the 11 featured tracks.

The album was an instant success, with its lead single, "All My Friends Say," reaching No. 5 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Written by Bryan, Lonnie Wilson and Jeff Stevens, the song is about a man waking up after a hard night of drinking, trying to remember what happened after he saw his ex walk into the bar he was at with his friends.

The second single from the project, "We Rode in Trucks," was a nostalgic ballad that was a tribute to growing up in rural America, and though it only hit No. 33, it has become a fan favorite. The third and final single from I'll Stay Me was "Country Man," which paired fiddle with an uptempo line-dance feel, scoring Bryan a second Top 10 hit.

Bryan drew strong reviews for his debut. Allmusic called I'll Stay Me "about as country as the music gets these days," saying Bryan "takes his inspiration from more timeless and perhaps timeworn carriers of the Nash Vegas tradition like Randy Travis and Alan Jackson. Bryan's also a songwriter in the best sense of the word, especially when it comes to sticking close and true to the topical side of country music, from mama and praying to food and love (and its loss) to individuality and trucks."

Country Standard Time echoed those sentiments, saying Bryan "proves his versatility on an album that combines twangy vocals and fiddles with catchy melodies."

I'll Stay Me was certified gold by the RIAA after selling more than 500,000 units.

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