Leesburg native hits the big time - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leesburg native hits the big time

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Leesburg native Luke Bryan won the Academy of Country Music's Best New Artist award last night.

While he accepted that award on one television network, he also appeared on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.

Bryan thanked his parents and even gave Leesburg a shout out from Las Vegas.

Around here, Luke Bryan has been a star for a while. Posters have been hanging around town and at every event cards like this one were passes out encouraging people to vote and after last night it's obvious they did.

As millions watched, Leesburg's Luke Bryan accepted the Academy of County Music's Best New Artist award in Las Vegas Sunday night.

"It is impossible for a human to shake more, thank you so much" Bryant said on national TV.

"We came out of our seats when he won and the emotions he showed especially the shout out to Leesburg Georgia was awesome we all just got super excited," said Massage Therapist Wil Carpenter.

Excitement reflected in a sign outside Wil-Power on Dawson Road. In Bryan's hometown of Leesburg...

"We wanted our home boy to just do really well and so when he mentioned all of us that's when you know all your work was more than worth it," said Lisa Davis of the Lee County Chamber of Commerce.

Worth it because the Chamber sent out a mass E-mail to all Georgia Chambers encouraging people to vote. Judy Powell arranged for 20 posters to ride the interstates from Massachusetts to Texas.

"Southern Ag was so gracious in allowing us to put this poster which was done by Matrix so it traveled all over," said Powell.

No one was prouder than Bryan's parents who were in the crowd in Las Vegas. His father, Tommy Bryan talked with us from the airport.

"I got kind of teary eyed in there, everybody that was sitting with us, my partner and his wife and me and my wife were sitting together, and we sort of got to jumping up and doing a little hollering and hugging, and it was very good to see him walk up there and receive that award," said Tommy Bryan.

Bryan's not coming back to southwest Georgia with them, he has other engagements. And after an appearance on NBC's The Apprentice, it won't shock his family if he gets even bigger offers.

"This is a big step in the right direction for his career. I talked with a few people in the business last night and they seem to think he's fixing to start going places," said Tommy Bryan.

Going places, but still rooted in Leesburg where it all began.

Luke's father told me, Luke's still working on new songs, he's got a concert coming up in Florida, and he's considering doing some more touring.

Bryan beat out Gloriana and Joey and Rory to win the Academy of Country Music Award.

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