Luke Bryan says he was not attacking three legendary country outlaws when he declared that he’s not a "'Those were the good old days' kind of guy." In a recent interview, Bryan said that people who want to hear Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings “just need to buy Merle, Willie and Waylon.” Those comments have since been interpreted as an attack on the legends.

That was not his intent, nor is it what’s in his heart, Bryan insists during a four-tweet response. Calling all three “musical heroes,” the country star says he was simply talking about who he is — and isn’t — as an artist.

“I’m not an outlaw country singer,” Bryan told Hits Daily Double during a lengthy interview that also talks about his upcoming Kill the Lights album, the shows that inspired him to chase a country dream and more.

However, it's what he said about outlaw country music that caught fire on Friday.

“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. There’s plenty of room for people to like Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jason Aldean. We don’t all need to be the same. Sam Hunt is a different kind of country artist; he has his crowd, just like Eric and Jason do.

Jennings admitted to having a heavy cocaine habit early in his career, and he was arrested for cocaine possession in 1977, although the charges were later dropped.

“It's so frustrating that something negative has spun out of the story. I would never speak against any artist,” Bryan later clarified on Twitter.

But some have taken aim at him, including Southern Ground recording artist Levi Lowrey, who hit Facebook to say that laying in the gutter “might be just what the doctor ordered” for Bryan. “You may be able to write a decent song after a stint in the real world," Lowrey added.

Bryan’s rare public response to criticism indicates that he was receiving negative feedback from far more than just Lowrey. His comments on Twitter, however, were received warmly by his fans.

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