There’s a want and there’s a need…
Five seconds in, and I need to be resuscitated. The man has a voice that could make any girl swoon. And don’t even bother stowing your smelling salts, ladies…his smile will just do you in all over again.
As if that weren’t enough to hook you, he’s a talented songwriter to boot. I’m telling you right now, Dustin Lynch is a force to be reckoned with.
When the opportunity arose to see Dustin perform in Nashville, I wasn’t sure what to expect. His popular single “Cowboys and Angels” had been occupying my radio dial for months, but I knew relatively little else about the Tullahoma, Tenn. native. So I traipsed out amidst an unprecedented heat wave for the outdoor concert, ready to nurse a Bud Light in the corner before scurrying off early to meet some friends.
Of course, I ended up being one of the last to leave. Dustin not only sounds incredible live, but he has the down-to-earth ability to genuinely connect with his audience. The set list combined original songs with crowd-pleasing covers and a couple teaser tracks from his new album. I found myself singing along as he belted out some of my personal favorites from George Strait and Garth Brooks, then swaying around like a star-crossed teenager during his self-penned “Hurricane.”
CMP sat down with Dustin before the show to talk Music City and his upcoming album.
CMP: You were discovered at the Bluebird Cafe here in Nashville, correct?
DL: In a round-about way. I moved up to Nashville when I was 18 – right behind the Bluebird because I didn’t know a person here. I thought, if I want to be a songwriter, I need to be close to where the songwriters hang. I would just go over there as much as I could and learn from the guys. I gradually started getting better and gradually started forming relationships. A lot of it was just a dream. My hero is Garth Brooks and he hung out there a lot…Bluebird is home to me. It seems every time I play Bluebird, something big happens in my career.
CMP: How does it feel to now be playing the big Nashville venues, like CMA Fest and the Opry?
DL: Nashville’s pretty much home to me. I grew up about an hour away from here. I got to play the CMA Fest Riverfront stage this year, and I’ve grown up going to shows there. To finally get to cross the fence this year and look back the other direction was just crazy for me!
CMP: I know we’re all excited for the release of your first album on August 21st. Can you tell us a little about it?
DL: I’ve written about 300 songs for this thing, I’ve had my whole life to write the first album. I’ve been writing my whole life for this moment. Finally having it completed is one of the proudest moments of my life. What I wanted to concentrate on for this first album was making sure people know what I’m about. “Cowboys and Angels” was the first impression, and that’s me to a tee. Most importantly, I wanted to create an album you can listen to top to bottom…and I think to do that you have to have a broad array of songs. You have to have a song for everybody and also a song for every situation. That’s what this record has. It’s up-tempo, its a record you can play on the weekends, around a bonfire, on a boat, on a lake. That’s where I like to listen to music.
CMP: It sounds like it’s a very personal album for you.
DL: I’m really proud of it. I wrote ten of the thirteen songs on this record. I have enough songs to make the record all of my own songs but I came across some songs in town that I couldn’t pass up. When I heard them for the first time I fell in love with them and I’m actually real impressed that I got to record these. I’m just that proud of the ones we recorded that other guys wrote. I’m really excited to get to see how this new music affects people because we haven’t really been doing it at the live show yet, we have a ton of songs out on YouTube, but its fun to have some songs in the can that nobody’s heard and are not going to hear until they pick the album up.
CMP: How did you go about finding the three songs you didn’t write yourself?
DL: I’m constantly listening to new music. I’m just getting started in songwriting but there’s guys here that have literally changed the face of country music with their songwriting. I love going to these songwriter’s round and seeing what songs people react to and see how a song either quiets down a room or makes them laugh. As a listener, I get to observe how people react to the songs. The songs I came across that I recorded – when I heard them the first time, I knew I had to hang on to them – and luckily I got to.
Follow CMP on Twitter @CountryMusicPri and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/countrymusicpride