Country Chatter

Luke Combs’ ‘What You See Is What You Get’ Has a North Canton Connection


When Luke Combs was getting his What You See Is What You Get album together, he knew he needed an album cover. The usual is a piece of art, or a picture of yourself, but Combs decided to combine the two and called on his friend, artist and North Canton native, Rob Hendon.

Hendon grew up in Ohio and attended North Canton Hoover High School. In 1985, he made the move to Nashville to attend Lipscomb University and to follow his dream of being in the music business. He landed a job at Capitol Records as an A&R Executive, and was the CEO and director of Giant Publishing.

But he had always painted since his childhood, and after a time without putting his creativity on canvas, he was ready to return. His use of vivid colors and textures quickly made him a favorite of art lovers in Nashville. As a guitar fanatic, his focus would be on on the six-string instrument. His name is now synonymous with guitars in the art world and his art  can be found hanging in lobbies and conference rooms all over Nashville like Bridgestone Arena, Warner Brothers Records, Warner Brothers Studios Nashville, Sony Records, Sony Music Publishing, Oceanway Studios, Big Machine Records, BMI Nashville, BMI New York, SESAC, VACO, Billboard Magazine, EA Games, Paramount Pictures.

He has painted for everyone from Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Les Paul, Rascal Flatts and many more musical artists.

Then came the call from Combs, who knew Hendon and had purchased his art on several occasions for himself and his team.

“I’ve know Luke since the very beginning of his career. We go all the way back,” Hendon stated in an interview with CMT.

“It started after he’d released ’Hurricane,’ and he called me and said, ’I’m Luke Combs.’ I’d never heard of him,” he laughed. “But he said he wanted to come by and look at my art, and that he’d just been waiting for a hit song.”

On that first meeting Combs bought a couple guitar tables, which are one of Hendon’s specialties. He bought one for himself and another for his manager Chris Kappy. He must have been satisfied with the purchase, because a year and a half later he called Hendon and told him, ’I want you to paint the cover art for my next album,’” By this time Combs was already a country superstar and Herndon thought it probably won’t happen. “But then I went to go see him at his Atlanta show, and he said we needed to get started.”

Hendon had never done an album cover before and working with Combs made him, understandably, a little nervous.

“When I showed him my first painting, he said, ’I love how I look.’ I was so happy. That was a fist-bump moment for us both, for sure.” After that approval, the title and rest of the artwork came together quickly.Since the release What You See Is What You Get, millions of copies have been purchased and it has been streamed millions of more times. Hendon’s artwork has accompanied Combs on talk shows, been projected on giant screens in Times Square and is displayed at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Hendon had a great career before being asked to do Combs’ album cover and his artwork has helped raise money for causes that include St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital, T.J. Martell Foundation, Make A Wish and Scott Hamilton Cares, to name a few. But, the What You See Is What You Get album cover does stand out.

As Hendon has stated, “This has been the icing on my career, by far.”

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