With his second album Where It's At dropping this week, Dustin Lynch admits he was worried about the sophomore slump -- at least, until he started writing songs for his new album.
"For me, this album was easy to make. I was always afraid of album two because you always hear about the sophomore curse. But getting to travel the country and see my songs from the first album really connect with the audience was very inspiring, so I soaked in the landscape and all the people I met. I had a lot to say, so it was easy for me to express all those new things."
Having been on the road for much of the past three years, Lynch admits the creative process was different for his newest disc as opposed to his self-titled debut. "I adapted my writing style because the first album I wrote all in Nashville, and this album I wrote while I was on the road. So there was a different energy there. Energy from the Fuse Tour with Keith Urban, those crowds at big festivals of 40,000 people screaming while we're writing songs literally backstage on the bus. I think that rubbed off on me."
Aside from inspiring his music, working on the Urban tour was an educational experience for Lynch. "I learned a lot about being on stage, set lists, timing, and all the ins and outs of doing a tour. Behind the curtain is where the magic happens -- you've got twelve buses of crew members that are up first thing in the morning, and they're the last ones loading up the trucks. Managing that village is an art. It was the most easy-going, fun loving tour, and that trickles down from the top. Keith, his tour manager, production manager and everyone involved really love life and what they're doing."
Lynch had a hand in writing five of the 15 cuts on Where It's At, but he's quick to say that his songs didn't take precedence over ones by other writers. "It's crazy to think that the most successful songwriters in the world want me to hear their songs. We didn't have that with the first album. It was a tough battle for my songs, but Garth Brooks once told me, 'The reason I've had the success I've had was I've always tried to record and find the best songs possible -- whether I had written them or not.' He also said, 'Be sure to look as hard as you can, because there's some great songwriters in this town. Make sure you're recording the best songs.' So that's what I did, and the best song won."
That being said, it's one of Lynch's own songs that's been generating an early buzz. "Your Daddy's Boots," which he penned with Josh Leo and Tim Nichols, is almost guaranteed to be the next big country wedding song. He says that the song is definitely the emotional centerpiece of the album. "That was the tipping point to record this album. I kept the song close to my vest and in my pocket for a while. I had a feeling about it, kind of like I had about 'Cowboys and Angels.'
"I had been throwing some songs at the label, trying to get them excited about new music. They asked if I had thought about writing another 'big impact' song. I told them, 'Actually, I already have. I'll send it to you tomorrow.' Sure enough, that was the tipping point of the label saying, 'Wow, we're in good shape. Let's start making this record."