Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced Luke Bryan and other artists to pause their touring plans, the country star planned what little time off the road he could get around family obligations. For example, he moved some tour dates around to be at his nephew Til's senior-year football games, the superstar shared during an artist Q&A at the recent 2021 Country Radio Seminar.

The pandemic, then, provided Bryan with plenty of that cherished family time, and he seized it: They spent time together at home and went on some bucket list fishing trips.

"Social distancing, I rock that. Between fishing and hunting trips, I can go isolate pretty good with the kiddos," jokes Bryan, who has two sons, Bo and Tate, with his wife Caroline. The couple also act as parental figures for Til and his two older sisters, whose parents are deceased.

But now, nearly a full year into life with COVID-19 as a concern, Bryan is itching to get back out on the road. His team is closely monitoring infection rates and vaccination statistics, and they're ready to begin touring again when they can do so safely. When that moment comes, Bryan knows it'll be big — and emotional.

"No one will be more emotional in the room than me," he says. "Getting to get back to doing what you love is gonna be really powerful."

Bryan admits that in the past, the grind of the music industry and road life has caught up to him; he's gotten "a little calloused" and sometimes felt obligated, not lucky, to keep up with soundchecks, meet-and-greets and the other pre- and post-show rituals. Seeing it all go away for so long with the pandemic has helped him "reset recalibrate [my] appreciation."

He knows he hasn't "knocked it out of the park creatively" during the pandemic — though he'll soon release a deluxe version of his latest album and has been busy judging a new season of American Idol — but he's been able to write some songs that make him proud and that have gotten his co-writers excited.

"Yeah, I did mentally check out a little bit, in a good way," Bryan reflects. "But now I've gotta get my voice [back in shape] ...

"It's a muscle," he continues, adding with a hint of self-deprecation, "It's gonna be interesting getting back on tour to see how the voice holds up."

Luke Bryan is currently scheduled to begin his Proud to Be Right Here Tour on May 30. The trek was originally scheduled for summer 2020, but was postponed.

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