Dustin Lynch Talks 'Current Mood,' Collaborating With Karen Fairchild & Learning From Luke Bryan on the Road
This weekend kicks off the 2017 pro football season, and it coincides with the release of Current Mood, the third studio album from Broken Bow’s Dustin Lynch. In the case of “Here We Come,” a track from the disc, he says the album is directly linked to the NFL.
“That song was inspired by a TV that was sitting above one of my co-writer’s heads,” he recalled to Billboard. “There was a NFL game going on, and it was the pre-game show with a lot of the game highlights, and I said ‘Why don’t we write a song that could be on one of those? That’s what we ended up with. It’s a high-octane type of night opening song to get you pumped up and get your blood moving.”
Needless to say, things are cruising in the career fast-lane for Lynch quite nicely here in 2017. Before the album is released this Friday (September 8), the disc has already spawned two Gold-selling singles, “Seein’ Red,” and current single “Small Town Boy,” which just hit No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart (dated Sept. 16). While that's amazing, he admits it's a situation that he is not used to.
“Both of them have been big songs for us already on an album that’s not out yet -- that’s rare. But, at the same time, it’s also a relief,” he says candidly. “Even if the rest of the record flops, I can always tell the record label ‘We had two Golds off of it.' It’s actually a really big confidence booster. I know that we’re off to a good start with the album already, and just look forward to moving that ball on down the hill.”
One aspect of Current Mood that is unusual -- and a career first for the Tullahoma, TN native -- is that the album features five different producers, as the singer worked with Ross Copperman, Mickey Jack Cones, Zach Crowell, Brent Anderson, and Will Weatherly for the set’s thirteen tracks. But more than anything, this array of producers is really just a result of the creative process lending itself to that approach.
“That actually happened organically and naturally, because each song was a passion project of ours," Lynch explains. "It wasn’t ‘Here’s a group of songs. Go record these during the week that you are off the road.’ It became ‘We’re going to record these as the songs individually,' and [the producers] saying ‘I’m the one.’ That’s why it took two years to get it recorded and put together. Each song is a completely different animal, and in some kind of way, it all came together.”
With a schedule that is among the busiest in the industry, Lynch says that the window of time to work on a record is narrow, but that's also allowed him to get more creative both in his material and his time management. “I’m writing most of my songs when I’m on the road, as to in the past, when I would write when I’m in town. I even recorded some of it on the road, when we have needed to. That’s where technology has become so great. We can get a pretty decent recording done backstage, and not have to come back to Nashville to demo songs. It all kind of happens in the moment now.”
One of the standout performances on Current Mood is the emotional “Love Me or Leave Me Alone,” which features guest vocals from Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild -- who became aware of Lynch's song during their free time on Luke Bryan's Kill The Lights Tour, on which they both served as openers.
“Every now and then, we’d get on Luke’s bus and play each other new demos that we were liking, and when I played the song, Karen said ‘Play that again.’ Then, she said ‘I would love to be a part of that song.’ I was talking about doing some sort of a duet on it, and she said she not only wanted to be a part of the song, but she was going to kill me if I didn’t let her be a part of the song," he says with a smile. "I would never have thought of asking her, because I just don’t think I deserve her. She’s such a superstar, but she brings the song up so many notches, and makes it magical. The way our voices blended, I couldn’t ask for a better vocal.”
With a new album of his own on the way, Lynch will be hitting the road as a headliner on the “Ride or Die” tour, which will feature support acts Michael Ray, LANCO, and Ryan Hurd. And thanks to his most recent trek as an opener for Bryan, Lynch is more ready than ever to take on the role of lead act. “I learned what confidence is. You don’t have to be so calculated and worried about what the crowd thinks – just be yourself. Watching him night after night, his show is never the same. He’s just a big goofball and makes the show up. That clicked for me. I became a lot more confident on stage, and comfortable in making the connection with the crowd now, and that’s an important part of what the shows are about.”
Just like with any successful artist, Lynch is starting to diversify his brand a bit -- including Stay Country Clothing, a fashion line that he has been working on recently that is about to be launched on a higher level. “Stay Country clothing is a brand that I’ve developed over the years, and we’ve been selling online as well as on tour," he says. "We’re going to have a really big release this fall that we’ve been working for about twelve months on. I’ve got a team in New York that has been working on a full line of women and men’s clothes – more than just graphic tees. We’ve got a lot of fun stuff planned with it. Hopefully, we will make a big splash with it.”
Lynch definitely made a big splash with his 2016 guest appearance on Lip Sync Battle, which he feels opened up a lot of people’s eyes to his fun-loving personality. “That was such a great moment for me. That captured how I am when I go out with my friends and karaoke late at night. I was glad to peel back the curtains and show the real me."
At the end of the day, Lynch is able to stretch his wings because of his musical success. He feels that with Current Mood, he has delivered an album that may be his most diverse musically yet.
“I had so much creative freedom on this album. I didn’t want to turn in an album that was just more of the same. I’ve had success in the past, and I could have just repurposed what we had done before, but sonically, it’s out there and different," he suggests. "There is a little bit of a challenge on how we’re going to pull some of them off in concert, but that keeps life fun and interesting, as well as exciting. That’s what I want to continue to do with my music. I don’t set out to push the limits, it just came to me naturally. We’ll see where it goes from here.”