Luke Bryan Pays Homage To Fallen Michigan Sheriff With Moving Performance Of ‘Drink A Beer’

“We’re gonna send this out to him and his family,” he shared from the stage.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

July 1, 2024


2:57 pm

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Luke Bryan; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Luke Bryan paid a special tribute to former Michigan Sheriff deputy Bradley J. Reckling, who reportedly died in the line of duty just days before he performed at the 99.5 WYCD Hoedown in Clarkston, Michigan. 

According to The Associated Press, the Michigan county sheriff’s deputy was pursuing a car that was reported stolen on Saturday, June from Red Oaks Waterpark in suburban Madison Heights. Authorities said that Reckling was in an unmarked vehicle when he found the 2022 Chevy Equinox in Detroit. He began following the car when suddenly it came to a halt and those inside got out and fatally shot the detective in the head, chest and torso, per Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. 

“It was an ambush,” Bouchard said at a news conference Sunday.

Bouchard also revealed that in addition to being a nine-year veteran, the 31-year-old was also married and a father of three with a fourth child on the way. Three individuals have since been taken into custody and Detroit police are continuing the investigation. In the meantime, the family is in mourning and has established a GoFundMe to help cover the expenses of their loss. 

GoFundMe - Brad Reckling

Bryan Shares A Special Moment With The Michigan Community

This is an incredibly tragic moment for the community as well as Reckling’s family, which Bryan made sure to bring attention to during his show. In a video shared via social media, the packed-out crowd in Michigan can be heard chanting “USA” before Bryan interrupted to let them know he was changing things up that night. Sitting at the piano with a single spotlight hitting the stage, he began playing the melody to his sentimental single released in 2013, “Drink A Beer.” 

Before he began his soulful delivery of the tune, he announced he would be dedicating the song to the fallen officer and his family, allowing the community to have a moment to remember his bravery and dedication to the job. 

“So I’m gonna sing this song out to…I heard that you guys lost an officer in the line of duty by the name of Brad Reckling,” Bryan said. “We’re gonna send this out to him and his family.”

Although the Georgia native’s shows are generally known for being upbeat and full of energy, he made sure to carve some time out of his set to honor the lost officer with a tender moment that caused the audience to fall silent and simply sway along to the beautiful lyrics. 

The Sentimental Meaning Behind “Drink A Beer”

Co-penned by Chris Stapleton and Jim Beavers, “Drink A Beer” was the perfect song choice to deliver as it portrays the story of a man who receives the tragic news that someone he loves deeply has died. In order to cope with the heartbreak, he finds that the most comforting thing he can do is sit on the edge of a pier, watch the sunset fade into the horizon and drink a beer.

“When I got the news today/ I didn’t know what to say/ So I just hung up the phone/ I took a walk to clear my head/ This is where the walking lead/ Can’t believe you’re really gone/ Don’t feel like going home,” Luke Bryan delivers on the first verse.

He continues onto the chorus, “So I’m gonna sit right here/ On the edge of this pier/ Then watch the sunset disappear/ And drink a beer.”

YouTube video

Luke Bryan Received An Outpouring Of Love From Fans

After seeing the “Love You, Miss You, Mean It” singer’s kind tribute on stage, fans both in attendance and online made sure to share their gratitude. 

“I was there it was amazing everyone was singing as loud as they could,” one fan said while another said, “So heart felt and Special thing to do on the show This is why we all Love Luke Bryan.”
Many users also commented that they are “Sending prayers to the family 🙏🙏🙏”

Luke Bryan’s recent Michigan appearance came amid his current Mind of a Country Boy headline tour. The trek opened in April and is set to run through September, when he wraps up in Tampa, FL. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.