NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country star Luke Bryan said he misspoke when he differentiated himself from outlaw country musicians like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings by saying he doesn't do drugs.
Bryan, the reigning Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year, apologized for how the comments appeared in an article on the online magazine, HITS Daily Double.
"I'm not an outlaw country singer," he said in a July 9 article. "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."
He posted on Twitter the next day that he never meant to disparage other artists.
"It's not my style," he wrote. "I consider Willie, Waylon and Merle musical heroes."
Bryan told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he wasn't clear when talking about the wide variety of musicians within the genre.
"You have to take things and learn from them, but at the end of the day, I was really speaking from where I draw my fuel and inspiration for music," Bryan said. "It just got weirdly associated with Willie and Waylon and Merle. And I may have done a better job if I said, 'a modern form of outlaw country.' When I originally stated them in the interview, it was an earlier part, but then I moved on and it got all put together."
Bryan, whose new album, "Kill The Lights," comes out Aug. 7, said that he's been consumed by the negative reaction some fans had to the comments, but he hopes they understand what he meant to say.
"I want everybody to be happy," he said. "And I want everybody to like me. But that just sometimes isn't possible. I've had to learn that's just not the way it's going to be."