In the heart of Miami, while the sounds of busy tourists and reggaeton fill the air AJ Spurr, WVUA’s program director, likes to mix in the raw lyrics, coarse vocals and the smooth acoustic guitar strums of country music. 

“Growing up in Miami, there was no country [music] down there,” Spurr said. 

Though Miami’s musical culture is diverse, including reggae, soca, conga, rumba, zouk, and much more, there wasn’t a large country music scene. 

“When I came up here to Alabama, obviously there’s a country scene, and I started picking up on it,” he said.  

It was Spurr’s freshman year when his roommate introduced him to country music. Ironically, his roommate was originally from Baltimore, a city known for its rich history of jazz and western classical music. Yet, somehow his roommate grew up entirely in love and immersed in the country music genre. 

“I guess I was lucky to live with him at first because he was already fully immersed in the genre,” Spurr said. 

After his roommate played him a few songs, Spurr was entranced by what country music had to offer. He found that it was the “raw sound” that resonated with him. He liked the way that songs would sound like they were just recorded in a room on a mic and just put out. But most of all, Spurr resonated with the messages in the music and stories they told. 

“I noticed that some of the messages that they were talking about really did stick with me,” he said. 

He liked how the songs seemed to have specific messages that the artists were trying to send, and it felt as if they were singing to him or about him. He said the music embodied some of the mindsets and attitudes that he has/had, especially Luke Combs, an American country music singer. 

“Luke Combs as an artist was someone that really sat well with me,” Spurr said. 

When first introduced to Combs, Spurr’s attention was captured by “When It Rains It Pours” from Comb’s 2017 debut studio album “This Ones for Us,” which became triple platinum in 2019 selling 3 million copies. 

“Everything about that song I fully relate to or fully related to at that time,” Spurr said. 

After that, Spurr kept digging into different country music artists’ discographies. Currently, he is listening to Luke Combs’s second studio album, “What You See Is What You Get,” which was released in 2019. The title track is an upbeat song that is quintessential 90s country with playfully honest lyrics that tell a story over a merry band. Spurr emphasized how much he liked the message of the album and its title track. 

“It’s about you know I am who I am, and you can take it or leave it, and I feel like that really represents me pretty well,” he said. 

Spurr doesn’t have favorites, but if he had to choose a top song on “What You See Is What You Get,” it would be “Better Together;” the track that closes the album. 

The simple production is accompanied by Combs’s deep vocals that have a sweet country twang that adds a heartwarming feeling to this love song. Spurr said he likes how the song has minimal production with just piano and vocals creating that same raw energy that he wants to hear.  

“I could 100% listen to this [album] for the rest of my life and not anything else,” he said.