Luke Combs’ new song “Does to Me” is an ode to the outsiders, so it’s only fitting that he called on one of country music’s most revered outsiders to sing it with him.
“Does to Me” was co-written by Combs, Ray Fulcher and Tyler Reeve in 2016 and is included on his new album What You See is What You Get featuring Eric Church. For Combs, the song is particularly personal, as it celebrates the idea of being proud of one’s accomplishments that others may deem trivial. “So say I’m a middle of the road / Not much to show / Underachievin’ average Joe / But I’m a hell of a lover / A damn good brother / And I wear this heart on my sleeve / That might not mean much to you / But it does to me,” he asserts in the chorus.
While Combs has become a record breaking artist in country music with half a dozen consecutive No. 1 singles and tying Shania Twain’s record for having the longest-running No. 1 album on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart – both Combs’ debut project This One’s For You and Twain’s Come On Over have spent 50 weeks in the top spot – he cites personal milestones such as being the best man in his close friend’s wedding as equally fulfilling as his success in music.
“The whole sentiment on the song was there’s nothing wrong with being proud of things that people think are insignificant. Up until I started doing this, I hadn’t done anything really in my life that I think anybody would think is really cool or great,” he explained to Sounds Like Nashville and other media during an album listening event at his home just outside of Nashville. “There was this thing where I’m like, ‘there are little things that to everyone else may seem super insignificant, but they’re things that I’m really proud of.’”
It’s this humble sentiment that connected with Church, who’s long been one of Combs’ musical heroes. Combs feels a kinship with the “Record Year” singer, as they’re both natives of North Carolina and share an alma mater in Appalachian State University. Combs shared a pre-fame throwback photo on Instagram in 2018 showing him standing front row at Church’s concert at local bar Coyote Joe’s in 2014, attributing The Chief for inspiring him to become a country artist.
When Combs extended the invite for Mr. Misunderstood himself to lend his voice to “Does to Me,” he was adamant that Church only accept the offer if he truly believed in the song and its message. His conviction was confirmed when Church responded that he “loved” the song and was willing to be a part of it. Church appears on the third verse, his subtle voice shining as he sings of important personal mementos like his mother’s first Bible and his father’s Don Williams record.
“I feel like sometimes in today’s society, especially with social media, if you’re not winning the gold medal at the Olympics, then you’re not a good runner – that’s the mindset. If you don’t win the gold medal, then you’re not doing the right thing, and I just think there was something about that he gravitated towards,” Combs observes, adding that the two hadn’t met when he sent Church the song, but have since struck up a friendship. “I think he’s a guy that really picks and chooses the things that he does pretty meticulously. It was neat for him to read and do it.”
What You See is What You Get is available now.